The relative cost per improvement in quality of life can help guide decisions about adding a midurethral sling at the time of prolapse surgery.
This study aimed to assess the cost-effectiveness of prophylactic midurethral slings placed at the time of prolapse surgery to reduce de novo urinary incontinence based on a randomized controlled trial.
Costs and effectiveness were collected as part of a planned secondary analysis from the Outcomes following vaginal Prolapse repair and mid Urethral Sling (OPUS) trial, where 337 women without symptomatic stress urinary incontinence were randomly assigned to a midurethral sling or sham incisions during vaginal prolapse surgery. Within-trial cost-effectiveness analysis was performed from the societal perspective. Effectiveness was measured in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and de novo urinary incontinence. We calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves.
Within-trial societal costs were higher for the sling group than for the control group ($18,170 [95% confidence interval (CI), $16,420–$19,920] vs $15,700 [95% CI, $14,110–$17300], P = 0.041). The changes in QALY were 0.04 (95% CI, 0.02–0.06) versus 0.03 (95% CI, 0.02–0.05; P = 0.54). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for prophylactic sling was $309,620/QALY. This is above the generally accepted range of willingness-to-pay thresholds of $50,000 to $150,000/QALY. At 1 year, urinary incontinence was more common in the control group, and the cost to prevent 1 case was $91. The probability that prophylactic sling is cost-effective is 24%.
Prophylactic sling placed during vaginal prolapse surgery reduced the rate of de novo urinary incontinence, but was not cost-effective.