Background: Human cadaveric allograft (HCA) and costal cartilage autograft (CCA) have been described for reconstruction during rhinoplasty. Neither are ideal due to infection, resorption, and donor site morbidity. The clear superiority of 1 graft over the other has not yet been demonstrated. This study assesses comparative costs associated with current grafting materials to better explore the cost ceiling for a theoretical tissue engineered implant.
Materials and methods: A cost utility analysis was performed. Initial procedure costs include physician fees (CPT 30420), hospital outpatient prospective payments, ambulatory surgical center payments, and fees for the following: rib graft (CPT 20910), hospital observation, and DRG (155) for inpatient admission. Additional costs for revision procedure, included the following fees: physician (CPT 30345), rib graft, hospital outpatient prospective payment, and ambulatory surgical center payments. Total costs under each scenario were calculated with and without the revision procedure. Comparison of total costs for each potential outcome to the estimated health utility value allowed for comparison across rhinoplasty subgroups.
Results: The mean cost of primary outpatient rhinoplasty using HCA and CCA were $8075 and $8342 respectively. Revision outpatient rhinoplasty averaged $7447 and increased to $8228 if costal cartilage harvest was required. Hospital admission increased the cost of primary rhinoplasty with CCA to $8609 for observational admission and to $13653 for 1 day inpatient admission. Revision CCA rhinoplasty with an inpatient admission complicated by pneumothorax increased costs to $21 099.
Conclusion: Cost of rhinoplasty without hospitalization was similar between HCA and CCA and this cost represents the lower limit of a practical cost for an engineered graft. Considering complications such as need for revision or for admission after CCA due to surgical morbidity, the upper limit of cost for an engineered implant would approximately double.
Keywords: cartilage; complex nasal reconstruction; facial plastic and reconstructive surgery; facial plastic surgery; miscellaneous; nasal contouring surgery; otolaryngology; rhinoplasty.