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Quick Uptakes
July 22/29, 1998

Cost-effective Reconstruction

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JAMA. 1998;280(4):315. doi:10.1001/jama.280.4.315-JQU80004-6-1

In addition to some obvious benefits for patients, breast reconstruction performed immediately after mastectomy is substantially less expensive than delayed surgery.

In a study of 276 patients who received mastectomies, researchers in Texas compared the cost of breast reconstruction performed immediately with procedures that were performed later. Among 194 patients who had transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flaps, the cost of delayed surgery was 62.5% higher than for reconstruction performed immediately. Among patients who chose reconstruction with tissue expansion and implants, the cost of delayed surgery was 45.1% higher. Immediate reconstruction is usually more convenient for patients and may be safer because they undergo surgery with general anesthesia only once. Overall, 219 of the patients had immediate reconstruction, and 57 had it later. The economic advantage of immediate reconstruction averaged $11042 per patient, the study showed. Noted Stephen Kroll, MD, professor of plastic surgery at University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, an author of the study, which was published in April in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, "This study indicates that mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction is truly more cost-effective."

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