A recent article by Kaplan and Allen suggested that deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap breast reconstruction was less expensive than reconstruction performed with free transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous (TRAM) flaps. To test that hypothesis, a series of patients who had undergone unilateral breast-mound reconstruction by the first author using DIEP or free TRAM flaps between November 1, 1996, and March 30, 2000, were reviewed. Bilateral reconstructions and reconstructions performed by other surgeons in the department were excluded to eliminate all variables except the choice of flap. All hours in the operating room and days in the hospital until discharge were included. Early readmissions for the treatment of complications were included, as were the costs of the mastectomy in the case of immediate reconstructions, but late revisions and nipple reconstructions were not. The totals were then converted into resource costs in 1999 dollars, and the DIEP and free TRAM flap groups compared. There were 21 DIEP flaps and 24 free TRAM flaps in the series. In this series, there was no significant difference between the cost of DIEP and free TRAM flap breast reconstruction.
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