To use decision analysis to compare the costs associated with minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) and bilateral neck exploration (BNE) in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism with regard to treatment of incidental synchronous thyroid disease.
We developed a decision tree model to evaluate the cost of managing thyroid pathology in primary hyperparathyroidism with the following 3 approaches: MIP, MIP with preoperative ultrasonography, and routine BNE with intraoperative thyroid evaluation. We tested the robustness of the optimal decision with sensitivity analyses.
A tertiary care academic medical center.
Main Outcome Measure
Total costs from a provider perspective.
Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy without an active search for thyroid abnormalities was determined to have the lowest expected cost ($5275 per patient). Parathyroid surgery with routine preoperative thyroid ultrasonography and further thyroid treatment as indicated had an expected cost of $5910 per patient. Bilateral neck exploration with intraoperative thyroid evaluation and treatment of the thyroid gland had an expected cost of $5916 per patient. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the results across a reasonable range of surgical and imaging costs.
Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy is not contraindicated on the basis of cost by an inability to screen for synchronous thyroid disease. In addition, ultrasonographic screening of the thyroid glands of patients undergoing MIP is not cost prohibitive and, in fact, is less costly than BNE. Ultrasonography has the added advantage of confirming the location of the offending parathyroid.