Current Issue - September/October - Vol 22 Issue 5


  1. 2019;22;421-431Cervical Interlaminar Epidural Injections in the Treatment of Cervical Disc Herniation, Post Surgery Syndrome, or Discogenic Pain: Cost Utility Analysis from Randomized Trials
    Cost Utility Analysis
    Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, Vidyasagar Pampati, MSc, Allan Parr, III, MS, Maanasa V. Manchikanti, ., Mahendra R. Sanapati, MD, Alan D. Kaye, MD, PhD, and Joshua A. Hirsch, MD.

BACKGROUND: Neck pain is one of the major conditions attributing to overall disability in the United States. There have been multiple publications assessing clinical and cost effectiveness of multiple modalities of interventions in managing chronic neck pain. Even then, the literature has been considered sparse in relation to cervical interlaminar epidural injections in managing chronic neck pain.

In contrast, cost utility studies of lumbar interlaminar injections, caudal epidural injections, cervical and lumbar facet joint nerve blocks, percutaneous adhesiolysis demonstrated costs of less than $3,500 for quality-adjusted life year (QALY).

OBJECTIVES: To assess the cost utility of cervical interlaminar epidural injections in managing chronic neck and/or upper extremity pain secondary to cervical disc herniation, post-surgery syndrome in neck, and axial or discogenic neck pain.

STUDY DESIGN: Analysis based on 3 previously published randomized trials of the effectiveness of cervical interlaminar epidural injections assessing their role in disc herniation, cervical post-surgery syndrome, and axial or discogenic pain.

SETTING: A contemporary, private, specialty referral interventional pain management center in the United States.

METHODS: Cost utility of cervical interlaminar epidural injections with or without steroids in managing cervical disc herniation, cervical post-surgery syndrome, and cervical discogenic or axial neck back pain was conducted with data derived from 3 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that included a 2-year follow-up, with inclusion of 356 patients. The primary outcome was significant improvement defined as at least 50% in pain reduction and disability status. Direct payment data from all carriers from 2018 was utilized for the assessment of procedural costs. Overall costs, including drug costs, were determined by multiplication of direct procedural payment data by a factor of 1.67 to accommodate for indirect payments respectively for disc herniation, discogenic pain, and cervical post-surgery syndrome.

RESULTS: The results of the 3 RCTs showed direct cost utility for one year of QALY of $2,412.31 for axial or discogenic pain without disc herniation, $2,081.07 for disc herniation, and $2,309.20 for post surgery syndrome, with an average cost per one year QALY of $2,267.57, with total estimated overall costs with addition of indirect costs of $3,475.38, $4,028.55, $3,856.36, and $3,785.89 respectively.

LIMITATIONS: The limitation of this cost utility analysis includes that it is a single center evaluation. Indirect costs were extrapolated.

CONCLUSION: This cost utility analysis of cervical interlaminar epidural injections in patients nonresponsive to conservative management in the treatment of disc herniation, post surgery syndrome and axial or discogenic neck pain shows $2,267.57 for direct costs with a total cost of $3,785.89 per QALY.

KEY WORDS: Cervical interlaminar epidural injections, chronic neck pain, cervical disc herniation, cervical discogenic pain, post surgery syndrome, cost utility analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, quality-adjusted life years