Cost Analysis and National Trends in the Treatment of Thumb Basal Arthritis: Comparing Ligament Reconstruction/Tendon Interposition and Trapeziectomy/Hematoma Distraction Arthroplasty

Ann Plast Surg. 2021 Jun 1;86(6S Suppl 5):S622-S624. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000002789.


Background: Thumb basal arthritis (TBA) is a common form of arthritis characterized by wearing away of cartilage in the crarpometacarpal joint at the base of the thumb. The purpose of the study was to analyze cost trends of the 2 common surgical treatments options: ligament reconstruction/tendon interposition (LRTI) and trapeziectomy/hematoma distraction arthroplasty (THDA).

Methods: The Vizient Clinical Data/Resource Manager electronic database was reviewed for the 3 treatment procedures of TBA from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2019. Cases were placed into 1 of 2 categories: LRTI or THDA. Total and direct costs were averaged and compared nationally and regionally. One-tailed t test and Pearson correlation analyses were performed (P < 0.05 and r > 0.9 or r < -0.9 was considered significant).

Results: A total of 28,887 total cases (26,405 LRTI, 2482 THDA) were analyzed. There was a 49% increase in number of surgical procedures to treat TBA between 2015 and 2018. Ligament reconstruction/tendon interposition (91%) had larger market share than THDA (9%). However, market share percentage of each procedure stayed the same over time. Trapeziectomy/hematoma distraction arthroplasty had lower average cost (US $4157) compared with that of LRTI (US $4446, P = 0.06) However, THDA had a significant positive trend in cost, increasing 14% in 4 years. In 2019, 30% of procedures performed were in the Midwestern United States, 27% Northeastern United States, 24% Southern United States, and 19% Western United States.

Conclusions: Most patients with TBA seem to be treated with LRTI. The market share seems to be greatest for LRTI and lowest for THDA nationally and regionally. Although the average cost for THDA was less than that of LRTI, this difference was not significant.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Hematoma
  • Humans
  • Ligaments / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis* / surgery
  • Tendons / surgery
  • Thumb / surgery
  • Trapezium Bone* / surgery