Cost Comparison of Synthetic Hydrogel Implant and First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Arthrodesis

Shane D. Rothermel, Jesse L. King, Maegan Tupinio, Kempland C. Walley, Paul J. Juliano, Michael C. Aynardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background. First metatarsophalangeal (MTP) arthrodesis is the “gold standard” treatment for hallux rigidus. Recently, there has been increased interest in new synthetic cartilage implants to preserve joint motion while eradicating pain. With current health care economics, the cost of a treatment is gaining particular importance. This study set out to perform a cost comparison between MTP arthrodesis and synthetic hydrogel implant to determine which treatment modality is more cost-effective based on direct aggregate costs. Study design. Economic and decision analysis. Methods. Studies in the available literature were analyzed to estimate hardware removal rates for MTP fusion and failure rates for a synthetic hydrogel implant and MTP fusion. Costs were determined by examining direct costs at a single institution for implants and data reported in the literature for operating room time. Sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo simulation were performed to examine cost and measurement uncertainty. Results. Assuming a 4.76% MTP arthrodesis revision rate and 7.06% hardware removal rate, the total direct cost of MTP joint arthrodesis was $3632. Using a 9.2% failure rate with subsequent conversion to MTP arthrodesis, the total cost of synthetic hydrogel implant was $4565. Sensitivity analysis revealed that MTP fusion was more cost-effective even if the failure rate increased to 15% and synthetic hydrogel implant failure rate was 0%. The synthetic cartilage implant cost would have to be reduced 28% or approximately 200% the cost of MTP fusion implants to be comparable to MTP arthrodesis. Conclusion. Hallux rigidus treatment with a synthetic hydrogel implant resulted in a higher direct aggregate cost than MTP arthrodesis. Level of Evidence: Level II: Cost analysis

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-285
Number of pages5
JournalFoot and Ankle Specialist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Podiatry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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