Open Access Research article

In-office diagnostic arthroscopy for knee and shoulder intra-articular injuries its potential impact on cost savings in the United States

Jeffrey D Voigt1*, Michael Mosier2 and Bryan Huber3

Author Affiliations

1 99 Glenwood Road, 07450 Ridgewood, NJ, USA

2 Washburn University, Topeka KS, USA

3 Mansfield Orthopedics, 555 Washington Hwy, 05661 Morrisville, VT, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:203  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-203

Published: 5 May 2014



The purpose of this analysis was to determine whether in office diagnostic needle arthroscopy (Visionscope Imaging System [VSI]) can provide for improved diagnostic assessment and; more cost effective care.


Data on arthroscopy procedures in the US for deep seated pathology in the knee and shoulder were used (Calendar Year 2012). These procedures represent approximately 25-30% of all arthroscopic procedures performed annually. Sensitivities, specificities, positive predictive, and negative predictive values for MRI analysis of this deep seated pathology from systematic reviews and meta-analyses were used in assessing for false positive and false negative MRI findings. The costs of performing diagnostic and surgical arthroscopy procedures (using 2013 Medicare reimbursement amounts); costs associated with false negative findings; and the costs for treating associated complications arising from diagnostic and therapeutic arthroscopy procedures were then assessed.


In patients presenting with medial meniscal pathology (ICD9CM diagnosis 836.0 over 540,000 procedures in CY 2012); use of the VSI system in place of MRI assessment (standard of care) resulted in a net cost savings to the system of $151 million. In patients presenting with rotator cuff pathology (ICD9CM 840.4 over 165,000 procedures in CY2012); use of VSI in place of MRI similarly saved $59 million. These savings were realized along with more appropriate care as; fewer patients were exposed to higher risk surgical arthroscopic procedures.


The use of an in-office arthroscopy system can: possibly save the US healthcare system money; shorten the diagnostic odyssey for patients; potentially better prepare clinicians for arthroscopic surgery (when needed) and; eliminate unnecessary outpatient arthroscopy procedures, which commonly result in surgical intervention.

Office arthroscopy; Costs of care; MRI; Surgical arthroscopy