Costs, Effectiveness, and Cost-Effectiveness of Selected Surgical Procedures and Platforms

Authors: Shankar Prinja, Arindam Nandi, Susan Horton, Carol Levin, Ramanan Laxminarayan

Surgery can be both highly cost-effective— saving lives or improving the quality of life—and affordable. Cost-effectiveness data can provide important support for additional investments in surgical facilities at first-level hospitals. In particular, trauma care saves lives; 77 percent of the deaths preventable by surgery are from injuries, representing 1.04 million deaths annually, while selected maternal and neonatal conditions avertable by surgery account for 234,000 deaths annually. Cataract surgery successfully increased patients’ standard of living, as measured by monthly per capita expenditure. Nonemergency orthopedic procedures produce cost-effective results for hip and knee arthroplasty. Effectiveness is higher and mortality rates are lower for surgeons who undertake the same operation many times in a year or in their careers. More information is needed about costs of surgical services in LMICs, especially since the data that does exist is dominated by studies of surgical missions, and not ongoing services.