© 2019 The Authors Purpose: To determine whether needle arthroscopy (NA) compared with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the diagnosis and treatment of meniscal tears is cost-effective when evaluated over a 2-year period via patient-reported outcomes. The hypothesis is that improved diagnostic accuracy with NA would lead to less costly care and similar outcomes. Methods: A Markov model/decision tree analysis was performed using TreeAge Pro 2017 software. Patients were evaluated for degenerative and traumatic damage to the lateral/medial meniscus. Assumed sensitivities and specificities were derived from the medical literature. The direct costs for care were derived from the 2017 Medicare fee schedule and from private payer reimbursement rates. Costs for care included procedures performed for false-positive findings and for care for false-negative findings. Effectiveness was examined using the global knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score (KOOS). Patients were evaluated over 2 years for costs and outcomes, including complications. Dominance and incremental cost-effectiveness were evaluated, and 1- to 2-way sensitivity analysis was performed to determine those variables that had the greatest effect. The consolidated economics evaluation and reporting standards checklist for reporting economic evaluations was used. Results: NA was less costly and had similar KOOS versus MRI for both the medial/lateral meniscus with private pay. Costs were less for both Medicare and private pay for medial meniscus, $780 to $1,862, and lateral meniscus, $314 to $1,256, respectively. Conclusions: Based on the reported MRI incidence of false positives with the medial meniscus and false negatives with the lateral meniscus and based on assumed standards of care, more costly care is provided when using MRI compared with NA. Outcomes were similar with NA compared with MRI. Level of Evidence: Level II, economic and decision analysis.
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School of Medicine