A comparative study of treatment interventions for patellar tendinopathy: a secondary cost-effectiveness analysis

Acupunct Med. 2022 Dec;40(6):516-523. doi: 10.1177/09645284221085283. Epub 2022 Jun 7.


Objective: To compare the cost-effectiveness of three patellar tendinopathy treatments.

Design: Secondary (cost-effectiveness) analysis of a blinded, randomised controlled trial, with follow-up at 10 and 22 weeks.

Settings: Recruitment was performed in sport clubs. The diagnosis and the intervention were carried out at San Jorge University.

Participants: The participants were adults between 18 and 45 years (n = 48) with patellar tendinopathy.

Interventions: Participants received percutaneous needle electrolysis, dry needling or sham needling, all of which were combined with eccentric exercise.

Main outcome measures: Costs, quality-adjusted life years and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio were calculated for each group.

Results: The total cost per session was similar in the three groups: €9.46 for the percutaneous needle electrolysis group; €9.44 for the dry needling group; and €8.96 for the sham group. The percutaneous needle electrolysis group presented better cost-effectiveness in terms of quality-adjusted life years and 96% and 93% probability of being cost-effective compared to the sham and dry needling groups, respectively.

Conclusion: Our study shows that percutaneous needle electrolysis has a greater probability of being cost-effective than sham or dry needling treatment.

Keywords: cost and cost-analysis; dry needling; electrolysis; patellar ligament; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dry Needling*
  • Humans
  • Needles
  • Tendinopathy* / therapy