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Journal Article


Mehrzad R, Mookerjee V, Schmidt S, Jehle C, Rao V, Mehrzad M, Liu PY. Ann. Plast. Surg. 2021; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2021, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)






PURPOSE: Extensor tendon lacerations (ETLs) are a common and debilitating injury for thousands of Americans annually. No study has attempted to estimate their economic impact. The objective of this study was to estimate the economic impact of ETLs in America.

METHODS: The cost of ETLs to society was estimated using a validated prevalence-based cost of illness model. The primary cohort was defined as all patients with complete ETLs in the United States undergoing surgical repair and, secondarily, the imputed number of patients requiring reoperation within 1 year. For these groups, both direct and indirect costs (lost income, missed workdays, and disability payments) were measured.

RESULTS: The total annual direct medical costs amounted to $14,095.28 per injury and 100,000 population. The total annual indirect labor costs were found to range between $80,842.90 and $150,136.82 per injury and 100,000 population. Hence, the estimated total costs of ETLs are $307 million per year in the United States alone and could be as high as $531 million annually depending on the effects of worker absenteeism on the core production-based industries.

CONCLUSIONS: Extensor tendon lacerations incur a significant economic burden to our health care system and are more costly when compared with many other common hand conditions. Specifically, indirect costs are the major contributor toward the total cost these injuries incur on society, accounting for an upward of 91% of the total cost. These results suggest efforts be focused on improving rehabilitation protocols and treatments. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II-economic and decision analyses.

Language: en


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