Microsurgical resection and radiosurgery remain the most widely used interventions in the treatment of vestibular schwannomas. There is a growing demand for cost-effectiveness analyses to evaluate these two treatment modalities and delineate the factors that drive their total costs. Here, the authors evaluated specific cost drivers for microsurgical and radiosurgical management of vestibular schwannoma by using the Value Driven Outcomes system available at the University of Utah.
The authors retrospectively reviewed all cases involving microsurgical and radiosurgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas at their institution between November 2011 and September 2017. Patient and tumor characteristics, subcategory costs, and potential cost drivers were analyzed.
The authors identified 163 vestibular schwannoma cases, including 116 managed microsurgically and 47 addressed with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). There were significant differences between the two groups in age, tumor size, and preoperative Koos grade (p < 0.05), suggesting that indications for treatment were markedly different. Length of stay (LOS) and length of follow-up were also significantly different. Facility costs were the most significant contributor to both microsurgical and SRS groups (58.3% and 99.4%, respectively); however, physician professional fees were not specifically analyzed. As expected, microsurgical treatment resulted in an average 4-fold greater overall cost of treatment than for SRS cases (p < 0.05), and there was a greater variation in costs for open cases as well. Costs remained stable over time for both open resection and SRS. Multivariable analysis showed that LOS (β = 0.7, p = 0.0001), discharge disposition (β = 0.2, p = 0.004), nonserviceable hearing (β = 0.1, p = 0.02), and complications (β = 0.2, p = 0.005) affected cost for open surgery, whereas no specifically examined factor could be identified as driving costs for SRS.
This analysis identified the fact that facility utilization constitutes the majority of total costs for both microsurgery and SRS treatment modalities of vestibular schwannomas. LOS, discharge disposition, nonserviceable hearing, and complications contributed significantly to the total costs for the microsurgical group, whereas none of the factors could be identified as driving total costs for the SRS group. This information may be used to establish policies and protocols to reduce facility costs, with the goal of decreasing the total costs without jeopardizing patient care.