Cost-Effectiveness of Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Versus Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty for the Treatment of Massive Rotator Cuff Tears in Patients With Pseudoparalysis and Nonarthritic Shoulders

Arthroscopy. 2017 Apr;33(4):716-725. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2016.08.028. Epub 2016 Dec 6.


Purpose: To determine the most cost-effective treatment strategy for patients with massive rotator cuff tears and pseudoparalysis of the shoulder without osteoarthritis of the glenohumeral joint (PP without OA). Specifically, we aimed to compare arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ARCR) versus reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) and investigate the effect of patient age on this decision.

Methods: A Markov decision model was used to compare 3 treatment strategies for addressing PP without OA: (1) ARCR with option to arthroscopically revise once, (2) ARCR with immediate conversion to RTSA on potential failure, and (3) primary RTSA. Hypothetical patients were cycled through the model according to transition probabilities, meanwhile accruing financial costs, utility for time in health states, and disutilities for surgical procedures. Utilities were derived from the Short Form-6D scale and expressed as quality-adjusted life-years. Model parameters were derived from the literature and from expert opinion, and thorough sensitivity analyses were conducted. TreeAge Pro 2015 software was used to construct and assess the Markov model.

Results: For the base-case scenario (60-year-old patient), ARCR with conversion to RTSA on potential failure was the most cost-effective strategy when we assumed equal utility for the ARCR and RTSA health states. Primary RTSA became cost-effective when the utility of RTSA exceeded that of ARCR by 0.04 quality-adjusted life-years per year. Age at decision did not substantially change this result.

Conclusions: Primary ARCR with conversion to RTSA on potential failure was found to be the most cost-effective strategy for PP without OA. This result was independent of age. Primary ARCR with revision ARCR on potential failure was a less cost-effective strategy.

Level of evidence: Level IV, economic and decision analysis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder / economics*
  • Arthroscopy / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / surgery*