Cost-Effectiveness of Operative Versus Non-Operative Treatment for Clavicle Fracture: a Systematic Literature Review

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2020 Aug;13(4):391-399. doi: 10.1007/s12178-020-09640-0.


Purpose of review: Operative and non-operative treatment of midshaft clavicle fractures seems to yield comparative functional results. Furthermore, it has been suggested that surgery is more expensive compared with non-operative treatment of clavicle fracture. Cost-effectiveness seems to be more important in trends of treatment decisions. The purpose of this study is to investigate the cost-effectiveness of clavicle fracture treatment.

Recent findings: Seven publications were selected, and 5 studies showed that operative treatment is more expensive than non-operative treatment. The mean overall cost per person in discounted prices was 10,230 USD for operative and 7923 USD for non-operative treatment. The mean absence from work ranged 8-193 and 24-69 days for operative and non-operative treatment, respectively. Studies varied in methods of assessing the cost-effectiveness of treatment modalities. Based on this literature review, routine operative treatment seems to be more expensive. In some cases, operative treatment might be more cost-effective. In all studies, direct and indirect costs of health care were calculated, but a great heterogeneity exists in the sources of cost data between countries. The cost-effectiveness of the treatment of clavicle fracture depends strongly on the cost of operative treatment and length of absence from work. Cost-effectiveness analysis could be a routine in RCT studies in the future.

Keywords: Clavicle; Cost-effectiveness; Fracture; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review