Purpose: Syndesmotic screw removal following acute syndesmotic injury is a commonly performed procedure. However, recent studies suggest that the removal does not result in improved patient reported outcome, while the procedure has proved not to be without complications. The aim of this study was to present a health-economic evaluation of on-demand removal (ODR) compared to routine removal (RR) of the syndesmotic screw. Methods: Data were collected from the RODEO trial, a randomized controlled non-inferiority trial comparing functional outcome of ODR with RR. Economic evaluation resulted in total costs, costs (in Euro) per quality adjusted life year (QALY) and costs per point improvement on the Olerud Molander Ankle Score (OMAS). This included both direct and indirect costs. Results: Total costs for ODR were significantly lower with a mean difference of 3160 euro compared to RR (p < 0.001). The difference in QALY was not significant. The difference in OMAS at 12 months was 1.79 with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of €-1763 (p = 0.512). The ICER was well below the willingness to pay. Although unit costs might vary between hospitals and countries, these results provide relevant data of cost-effectiveness. Conclusion: The clinical effectiveness of both ODR and RR can be considered equal. The costs are lower for patients treated with ODR, which leads to the conclusion that ODR is cost-effective.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma
Early online date2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Ankle fractures surgery
  • Cost–Benefit analysis
  • Fracture fixation, internal/economics
  • Fracture fixation, internal/instrumentation
  • Implant removal
  • Quality of life

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