Surgical stabilization of rib fractures combined with intercostal nerve cryoablation proves to be more cost effective by reducing hospital length of stay and narcotics

Zachary M. Bauman, John Loftus, Ashley Raposo-Hadley, Shradha Samuel, Weston Ernst, Charity H. Evans, Samuel Cemaj, Adam J. Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Intercostal nerve cryoablation (INCA) coupled with surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRF) has been shown to reduce post-operative pain scores but at what monetary cost. We hypothesize that in-hospital outcomes improve with the addition of INCA to SSRF and potential increased hospital charges are justified by patient benefits. Methods: Multi-institutional, retrospective review of patients undergoing SSRF with and without INCA over an 8-year period. Institutions involved were Level II or higher trauma centers. Basic demographics were obtained. Patients were included if SSRF was performed during the index hospitalization. Primary outcomes included total hospital length of stay (HLOS) and HLOS after SSRF, total hospital charges (HC), HC the day of surgery and HC after surgery. Secondary outcome included total narcotic consumption in morphine milliequivalents (MME) after SSRF. Mann-Whitney U test was used for analysis. Statistical significance p < 0.05. Results: 136 patients analyzed; 92 underwent SSRF only and 44 underwent SSRF with INCA. Demographics were similar between groups. Number of ribs stabilized was comparable; 4.78 ± 1.64 SSRF only and 4.73 ± 1.66 SSRF with INCA (p = 0.463). Median ISS [16 (IQR 11.5-16) SSRF only and 14 (IQR 9-18.75) SSRF with INCA (p = 0.463)] was not statistically different. The INCA group showed a decrease in the median total HLOS, 9 versus 10 days (U = 1517.5, p = 0.026) and HLOS after SSRF, 4 versus 6 days (U = 1217.5, p < 0.001). HC the day of surgery were higher for the INCA group, $93,932 versus $71,143 (U = 1106, p < 0.001). However, total HC were similar between groups and total HC after SSRF was significantly less for the INCA group, $10,556 versus $20,269 (U = 1327, p = 0.001). Total median narcotic use after SSRF was significantly less for the INCA group, 88.6 vs 113.7 MME (U = 1544.5, p = 0.026). Conclusion: SSRF with INCA is safe and does not increase overall HC with the added benefit of decreased HLOS post-operatively and decreased narcotic consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1128-1132
Number of pages5
JournalInjury
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Cost effectiveness
  • Hospital length of stay
  • Intercostal nerve cryoablation
  • Rib fractures
  • Surgical stabilization of rib fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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