Cost analysis of enhanced recovery after surgery in microvascular breast reconstruction

Christine Oh, James Moriarty, Bijan J. Borah, Kristin C. Mara, William S. Harmsen, Michel Saint-Cyr, Valerie Lemaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathways have been shown in multiple surgical specialties to decrease hospital length of stay (LOS) after surgery. ERAS in breast reconstruction has been found to decrease hospital LOS and inpatient opioid use. ERAS protocols can facilitate a patient's recovery and can potentially increase the quality of care while decreasing costs. Methods: A standardized ERAS pathway was developed through multidisciplinary collaboration. It addressed all phases of surgical care for patients undergoing free-flap breast reconstruction utilizing an abdominal donor site. In this retrospective cohort study, clinical variables associated with hospitalization costs for patients who underwent free-flap breast reconstruction with the ERAS pathway were compared with those of historical controls, termed traditional recovery after surgery (TRAS). All patients included in the study underwent surgery between September 2010 and September 2014. Predicted costs of the study groups were compared using generalized linear modeling. Results: A total of 200 patients were analyzed: 82 in the ERAS cohort and 118 in the TRAS cohort. Clinical variables that were identified to potentially affect costs were found to have a statistically significant difference between groups and included unilateral versus bilateral procedures (p = 0.04) and the need for postoperative blood transfusion (p = 0.03). The cost regression analysis on the two cohorts was adjusted for these significant variables. Adjusted mean costs of patients with ERAS were found to be $4,576 lesser than those of the TRAS control group ($38,688 versus $43,264). Conclusions: Implementation of the ERAS pathway was associated with significantly decreased costs when compared to historical controls. There has been a healthcare focus toward prudent resource allocation, which dictates the need for plastic surgeons to recognize economic evaluation of clinical practice. The ERAS pathway can increase healthcare accountability by improving quality of care while simultaneously decreasing the costs associated with autologous breast reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-826
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • DIEP flap
  • ERAS
  • Economic analysis
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery
  • Muscle-sparing free TRAM
  • Outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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