The increasing cost of healthcare and the current state of our country’s healthcare system has made the importance of lower cost alternatives for care a hot topic. Cubital tunnel syndrome is the 2nd most common nerve compression occurring in the arm (carpal tunnel being the most common). There’s currently a lack of evidence linking cubital tunnel syndrome to workplace activities; nevertheless, this condition does have significant negative implications to both the employee and employer, and our physicians understand the unique nature of this problem. Let’s consider for a moment some of the costs associated with cubital tunnel syndrome.
Costs of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome to the EMPLOYEE
Indirect costs: lost wages, loss of fringe benefits at your current position, work and life disruption (hospital visits, rehab, pain, etc.), and loss of productivity outside of work (child care, home repairs, etc.) while injured or during the recovery phase
Direct costs: medical expenses and medications/rehab not covered by insurance
Costs of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome to the EMPLOYER
Indirect costs: time spent on replacing employees and employee retraining, accident/injury investigation, workplace disruption, lost productivity, absenteeism
Direct costs: higher insurance premiums, costs for legal services, medical expenses
Minimally Invasive Surgery for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
A recent publication by Cobb, et al., (Cobb, Walden, Merrell, Lemke. Setting expectations following endoscopic cubital tunnel release. HAND, April 2014) demonstrated that patients are able to get back to full duty 63 days sooner following endoscopic cubital tunnel release compared to the older, gold standard open surgical approach of anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve. The indirect and direct cost benefit of the staggering return-to-work difference is substantial to both the employee and employer.
The faster return to work following the minimally invasive procedure results in an estimated $436,000,000 potential annual savings in the U.S. (This calculation is based on an estimated number of cubital tunnel cases in the U.S. per year of 73,673 multiplied by 63 days faster recovery multiplied by the estimated $94.00 per day disability cost). Given the current economic state of what some would consider a healthcare crisis in the United States, we should be sensitive to what many would consider negligible differences that obviously add up when taken collectively for the entire nation.
For more information about cubital tunnel syndrome, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact us today.