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16.03.2016 | Original Scientific Report | Ausgabe 9/2016

World Journal of Surgery 9/2016

The Cost of Intramedullary Nailing for Femoral Shaft Fractures in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

World Journal of Surgery > Ausgabe 9/2016
Erik J. Kramer, David W. Shearer, Elliot Marseille, Billy Haonga, Joshua Ngahyoma, Edmund Eliezer, Saam Morshed



Femoral shaft fractures are one of the most common injuries seen by surgeons in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Surgical repair in LMICs is often dismissed as not being cost-effective or unsafe, though little evidence exists to support this notion. Therefore, the goal of this study is to determine the cost of intramedullary nailing of femoral shaft fractures in Tanzania.


We used micro-costing methods to estimate the fixed and variable costs of intramedullary nailing of femoral shaft fractures. Variable costs assessed included medical personnel costs, ward personnel costs, implants, medications, and single-use supplies. Fixed costs included costs for surgical instruments and administrative and ancillary staff.


46 adult femoral shaft fracture patients admitted to Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute between June and September 2014 were enrolled and treated with intramedullary fixation. The total cost per patient was $530.87 (SD $129.99). The mean variable cost per patient was $419.87 (SD $129.99), the largest portion coming from ward personnel $144.47 (SD $123.30), followed by implant $134.10 (SD $15.00) medical personnel $106.86 (SD $28.18), and medications/supplies $30.05 (SD $12.28). The mean fixed cost per patient was $111.00, consisting of support staff, $103.50, and surgical instruments, $7.50.


Our study provides empirical information on the variable and fixed costs of intramedullary nailing of femoral shaft fractures in LMICs. Importantly, the lack of surgical capacity was the primary driver of the largest cost for this procedure, preoperative ward personnel time. Our results provide the cost data for a formal cost-effectiveness analysis on this intervention.

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