Cost-Effectiveness of Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy and Physical Therapy for Degenerative Meniscal Tear

Emma E. Williams, Jeffrey N. Katz, Valia P. Leifer, Jamie E. Collins, Tuhina Neogi, Lisa G. Suter, Bruce Levy, Alexander Farid, Clare E. Safran-Norton, A. David Paltiel, Elena Losina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We examined the cost-effectiveness of treatment strategies for concomitant meniscal tear and knee osteoarthritis (OA) involving arthroscopic partial meniscectomy surgery and physical therapy (PT). Methods: We used the Osteoarthritis Policy Model, a validated Monte Carlo microsimulation, to compare three strategies, 1) PT-only, 2) immediate surgery, and 3) PT + optional surgery, for participants whose pain persists following initial PT. We modeled a cohort with baseline meniscal tear, OA, and demographics from the Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research (MeTeOR) trial of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy versus PT. We estimated risks and costs of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy complications and accounted for heightened OA progression post surgery using published data. We estimated surgery use rates and treatment efficacies using MeTeOR data. We considered a 5-year time horizon, discounted costs, and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) 3% per year and conducted sensitivity analyses. We report incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Results: Relative to PT-only, PT + optional surgery added 0.0651 QALY and $2,010 over 5 years (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio = $30,900 per QALY). Relative to PT + optional surgery, immediate surgery added 0.0065 QALY and $3080 (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio = $473,800 per QALY). Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were sensitive to optional surgery efficacy in the PT + optional surgery strategy. In the probabilistic sensitivity analysis, PT + optional surgery was cost-effective in 51% of simulations at willingness-to-pay thresholds of both $50,000 per QALY and $100,000 per QALY. Conclusion: First-line arthroscopic partial meniscectomy has a prohibitively high incremental cost-effectiveness ratio. Under base case assumptions, second-line arthroscopic partial meniscectomy offered to participants with persistent pain following initial PT is cost-effective at willingness-to-pay thresholds between $31,000 and $473,000 per QALY. Our analyses suggest that arthroscopic partial meniscectomy can be a high-value treatment option for patients with meniscal tear and OA when performed following an initial PT course and should remain a covered treatment option.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-862
Number of pages10
JournalACR Open Rheumatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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