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Cost-effectiveness of a topically applied pre-operative tissue expansion device for radial forearm free flaps: a cohort study

, : Cost-effectiveness of a topically applied pre-operative tissue expansion device for radial forearm free flaps: a cohort study. Clinical Otolaryngology 36(4): 345-351

The objective of this study is to test the hypothesis that using a non-invasive and inexpensive pre-operative tissue expansion device (DynaClose) for radial forearm free-flap donor sites will result in a significant reduction in the cost of both in-hospital and out-of-hospital wound care compared with that of unexpanded radial forearm free-flap donor sites. A cohort study consisting of patients previously randomised in a randomised controlled trial. An intention to treat design was utilised. A large tertiary care centre in eastern Ontario, Canada. Thirty-four patients presenting to Otolaryngology Head and Neck clinic were enroled. Of these patients, 29 were previously enroled in a randomised controlled trial, while an additional five patients were enroled and randomised for the purpose of this study. Patients were randomised to either the treatment (pre-operative tissue expansion, DynaClose Expansion System) or control group. Wound care costs (in US dollars) were calculated for all patients for both in-hospital care and for patients requiring home care. Non-parametric data analysis was utilised for statistical assessment. There was a 93% reduction in the use of split-thickness skin grafts in the treatment group. There was a significant reduction in total wound care cost for patients in the treatment group versus the control group (P < 0.0001). Patients in the treatment group required a mean (SD) total of $36.00 (23.50) per patient, while the control group required $277.00 (325.00) of wound care. After excluding the cost of home care, the treatment group continued to have a significant reduction in total and in-hospital wound care costs compared with the control group (P < 0.001). Using a simple, inexpensive and non-invasive method of pre-operative tissue expansion results in a significant reduction in the costs of wound care for both in-hospital and out-of-hospital treatment. The DynaClose dynamic skin expansion system results in a cost-effective method to reduce the need of a split-thickness skin graft for coverage of a radial forearm free-flap donor site.


PMID: 21651729

DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-4486.2011.02354.x

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