Attitudes and awareness of suture anchor cost: a survey of shoulder surgeons performing rotator cuff repairs

Academic Article


  • Background: The cost of health care in the United States accounts for 18% of the nation's gross domestic product and is expected to reach 20% by 2020. Physicians are responsible for 60%-80% of decisions resulting in health care expenditures. Rotator cuff repairs account for $1.2-$1.6 billion in US health care expenditures annually. The purpose of this study is to assess surgeons' cost awareness in the setting of rotator cuff repairs. The hypothesis is that practice environment and training affect cost consciousness and incentivization will lead to more cost-effective choices. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a 21-item survey was distributed via the email list services of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and Arthroscopy Association of North America. Data collected included demographics, variables regarding rotator cuff repair (technique, number of companies used, procedures per month), and knowledge of costs. Results: Responses from 345 surgeons in 23 countries were obtained with the majority (89%) being from the United States. Most surgeons were “cost-conscious” (275, 70.7%). Of these surgeons, 62.9% are willing to switch suture anchors brands to reduce overall costs if incentivized. Cost-conscious surgeons were more likely to be fellowship trained in shoulder and elbow (51.81% vs. 38.57%, P = .048), be paid based on productivity (73.53% vs. 61.43%, P = .047), and receive shared profits (85.4% vs. 75%, P = .02). Conclusion: The majority of orthopedic surgeons are both cost-conscious and willing to change their practice to reduce costs if incentivized to do so. A better understanding of implant costs combined with incentives may help reduce health care expenditure.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Johnson J; Pinto M; Brabston E; Momaya A; Huntley S; He JK; McGwin G; Phipatanakul W; Tokish J; Ponce BA
  • Start Page

  • 643
  • End Page

  • 653
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 3