Italian cost analysis of free flap surgery in head and neck reconstruction using the activity-based costing (ABC)

Karim Tewfik, Pasquale Chiarelli, Chiara Copelli, Nicola Pederneschi, Lazzaro Cassano, Alfonso Manfuso, Claudia Covelli, Francesco Longo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of the study is to evaluate costs of free flap surgery for head and neck (H & N) reconstructions using the time-driven activity-based costing (ABC) method and to compare them with the refund provided by the Italian National Health System (NHS) amounting to 11,891€. We retrospectively selected 29 consecutive patients underwent free flap reconstruction in 2013 at IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza. Patients were divided into three groups: Group 1 (n = 10) included patients receiving radial forearm free flap (RFFF), Group 2 (n = 10) receiving anterolateral thigh (ALT) free flap, and Group 3 (n = 9) composed of patients having fibular free flap. For each patient, costs were calculated using the ABC and divided into instay, surgical, and services costs. We observed an overall mean total cost of 27,802.40€. The mean costs related to hospital stay were 9,800.70€. The mean costs for surgery were 13,097.60€ and amounted to 4,904.10€ for services. RFFF appears to be less costing (25,175.40€) compared with ALT (29,191.60€) and fibula free flap (29,040.20€). ABC is an appropriate method to determine actual costs of free flap surgery by correctly allocating the resources used. The Italian NHS tariff seems to be inadequate to cover the real cost of this type of surgery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Activity-based costing
  • Cost analysis
  • Free flap surgery
  • Head and neck reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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