May 1st, 2018 , The Journal of Arthroplasty

Are Ceramic Bearings Becoming Cost-Effective for All Patients? (Abstract)

Authors: Kurtz SM, Lau EC, Baykal D, Odum SM, Springer BD, Fehring TK


We analyzed whether the total hospital cost in a 90-day bundled payment period for ceramic-on-polyethylene (C-PE) and ceramic-on-ceramic (COC) total hip arthroplasty (THA) bearings was changing over time, and whether the cost differential between ceramicbearings and metal-on-polyethylene (M-PE) bearings was approaching the previously published tipping point for cost-effectiveness of US$325.


A total of 245,077 elderly Medicare patients (65+) who underwent primary THA between 2010 and 2015 were identified from the United States Medicare 100% national administrative hospital claims database. The total inpatient cost, calculated up to 90 days after index discharge, was computed using cost-to-charge ratios, and hospital payment was analyzed. The differential total inpatient cost of C-PE and COC bearings, compared to metal-on-polyethylene (M-PE), was evaluated using parametric and nonparametric models.


After adjustment for patient and clinical factors, and the year of surgery, the mean hospital cost up to 90 days for primary THA with C-PE or COC was within ±1% of the cost for primary THA with M-PE bearings (P < .001). From the nonparametric analysis, the median total hospital cost was US$296-US$353 more for C-PE and COC than M-PE. Cost differentials were found to decrease significantly over time (P < .001).


Patient and clinical factors had a far greater impact on the total cost of inpatient THA surgery than bearing selection, even when including readmission costs up to 90 days after discharge. Our findings indicate that the cost-effectiveness thresholds for ceramicbearings relative to M-PE are changing over time and increasingly achievable for the Medicare population.

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