Opportunities for Cost Reduction of Medical Care: Part 3

Monte Malach; William J. Baumol


J Community Health. 2012;37(4):888-896. 

In This Article


A less extensive and less expensive operation, spinal fusion for spinal stenosis, has been effective at one-fifth to one-third of the cost.[40] Faulty hip implants that often require repeat replacements are the result of inadequate, preapproved evaluation procedures for certain hip implants.[41] Traditional artificial hips typically last 15 years, but metal hip replacements have been failing early at a rapid rate in both England and, as reported by an FDA study of 40,000 American patients, in the United States. In effect, this is an expensive transitory therapy. Slow and incomplete orthopedic device reviews by the FDA continue, despite FDA fee increases and criticism of this decision.[42]

Meanwhile, laboratory growth of bone tissues for facial, middle ear, spine, and extremity bones will likely be a more effective and less expensive method of treating skeletal disease and fractures.[43] Inexpensive leech therapy for knee osteoarthritis pain also has been reported to be just as effective as other, more expensive treatments.[44]


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