Long-term economic impact of coiling vs clipping for unruptured intracranial aneurysms

Neurosurgery. 2013 Jun;72(6):1000-11; discussion 1011-3. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000429284.91142.56.


Background: : Treatment of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) involves endovascular coiling or aneurysm clipping. While many studies have compared these treatment modalities with respect to various clinical outcomes, few studies have investigated the economic costs associated with each procedure.

Objective: : To determine the reoperation rate, postoperative complications, and inpatient and outpatient costs associated with surgical or endovascular treatment of patients with UIAs in the United States.

Methods: : We utilized the MarketScan database to examine patients who underwent surgical clipping or endovascular coiling procedures for UIAs from 2000 to 2009, comparing reoperation rates, complications, and angiogram and healthcare resource use. Propensity score matching techniques were used to match patients.

Results: : We identified 4,504 patients with surgically treated UIAs, with propensity score matching of 3,436 patients. Reoperation rates were significantly lower in the clipping group compared to the coiling group at 1- (P < .001), 2- (P < .001), and 5 years (P < .001) following the procedure. However, postoperative complications (immediate, 30 and 90 days) were significantly higher in those undergoing surgical clipping. Although hospital length of stay and costs were higher in the clipping group for the index procedure, the number of postoperative angiograms and outpatient services used at 1, 2, and 5 years were significantly higher in the coiling group.

Conclusion: : Though surgical clipping resulted in lower reoperation rates, it was associated with higher complication rates and initial costs. However, overall costs at 2 and 5 years were similar to endovascular coiling due to the significantly higher number of follow-up angiograms and outpatient costs in these patients.

Abbreviations: : SAH, subarachnoid hemorrhageUIAs, unruptured intracranial aneurysms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / economics*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Endovascular Procedures / economics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / economics
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Reoperation / economics
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time
  • United States