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This is the final version of the article from Global Spine Journal, 2021 Jan;11(1):28-33.

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STUDY DESIGN: Break-even cost analysis.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study is to examine the cost-effectiveness of vancomycin powder for preventing infection following lumbar laminectomy.

METHODS: The product cost of vancomycin powder was obtained from our institution's purchasing records. Infection rates and revision costs for lumbar laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy with fusion were obtained from the literature. A break-even analysis was then performed to determine the absolute risk reduction (ARR) in infection rate to make prophylactic application of vancomycin powder cost-effective. Analysis of lumbar laminectomy with fusion was performed for comparison.

RESULTS: Costing $3.06 per gram at our institution, vancomycin powder was determined to be cost-effective in lumbar laminectomy if the infection rate of 4.2% decreased by an ARR of 0.015%. Laminectomy with fusion was also determined to be cost-effective at the same cost of vancomycin powder if the infection rate of 8.5% decreased by an ARR of 0.0034%. The current highest cost reported in the literature, $44.00 per gram of vancomycin powder, remained cost-effective with ARRs of 0.21% and 0.048% for laminectomy and laminectomy with fusion, respectively. Varying the baseline infection rate did not influence the ARR for either procedure when the analysis was performed using the product cost of vancomycin at our institution.

CONCLUSIONS: This break-even analysis demonstrates that prophylactic vancomycin powder can be highly cost-effective for lumbar laminectomy. At our institution, vancomycin powder is economically justified if it prevents at least one infection out of 6700 lumbar laminectomy surgeries.

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