Comparative Cost Analysis of Single-use Sterile versus Reprocessed Distal Radius Volar Plate Sets

Document Type : RESEARCH PAPER


1 Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sidney Kimmel College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

3 Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University,Philadelphia, PA, USA


Background: With the rise in distal radius fracture (DRF) incidence and treatment through open reduction internal 
fixation, there are increasing concerns in the current medical cost containment climate. To help reduce costs, 
manufacturers are introducing sterile packed kits. The purpose of this study is to compare the costs of the single use 
kit (SK) against conventional reprocessed DRF surgical sets (RS).
Methods: A four-year retrospective review at three surgical centers was performed to determine a company’s RS 
average sterilization and processing costs. RS instrumentation cost was estimated by straight-line depreciation from 
the original purchase price. RS implant costs were calculated from the list price. SK list cost was obtained from the 
same company. Incidence of surgical delays was estimated by a survey of 23 hand surgeons and cost of delays was 
obtained from surgical center reports. Sensitivity analysis on delay frequency was performed to assess a range of 
overall costs. 
Results: OR delays were estimated at one out of 100 cases, with an average cost of $11 per case. For RS, average 
instruments, implants, and sterilization costs per case was $47, $2882, and $39. The total RS cost of $2,978 and the 
SK was $1,667 with a difference of $1,313 per case.
Conclusion: RS was found to cost $1,313 more per case than the SK in an ambulatory surgical setting and potentially 
more cost effective. Ultimately, pricing is highly variable at each center based on negotiated and contractual pricing.
Level of evidence: IV


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