Measuring Value in Elective Spine Surgery

Erik B. Gerlach*, Alexandra R. Richards, Mark A. Plantz, David J. Fei-Zhang, Wellington K. Hsu, Alpesh A Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To summarize the main findings from research on measuring the value in spine surgery. Summary of Background Data: Determining the value of surgical interventions, which is defined by the quality and efficacy of care received divided by the cost to deliver healthcare, is inherently complex. The two most fundamental components of value-quality and total cost-are multifactorial and difficult to quantify. Methods: A narrative review of all the relevant papers known to the author was conducted. Results: It is straightforward to calculate the aggregate hospital cost following a surgical procedure, but it is not simple to estimate the total cost of a procedure-including the direct and indirect costs. These individual metrics can help providers make more educated decisions with regards to improving patient quality of life and minimizing unnecessary costs. A consensus of the appropriate cost-per-quality-adjusted life-year threshold of different spine surgeries needs to be established. As these metrics become more commonplace in spine surgery, the potential for personalized health care will continue to be developed. Conclusions: As the healthcare system shifts toward value-based care, there is a substantial need for research assessing the value as defined by the quality and efficacy of care received divided by the cost to deliver healthcare of specific spine surgery procedures. Studies on different predictors-both patient-specific and surgical-that may influence outcomes, cost, and value are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-421
Number of pages6
JournalSpine Surgery and Related Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Cost
  • Performance Indicators
  • Quality
  • Spine Surgery
  • Value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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