Current Practice and Perceptions Regarding Cost Communication in Breast Cancer Reconstruction: Survey Results of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Chad M. Bailey, Jesse Selber, Jun Liu, Clara N. Lee, Anaeze C. Offodile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Rising out-of-pocket costs (OOCs) are a major concern for breast cancer survivors. However, information on how plastic surgeons performing breast reconstruction (BR) perceive and communicate cost information is limited. Methods: An electronic, anonymous survey eliciting plastic surgeons’ attitudes and behaviors regarding BR cost communication was distributed to active American Society of Plastic Surgery members. Questions were derived from previously published studies and entailed a 5-point Likert scale. Cost communication was identified based on dichotomized responses to the prompt, “I discuss the costs of breast reconstruction with my patients,” and analyzed for associated factors. Results: Of the 5112 surgeons surveyed, 396 plastic surgeons responded (7.21%). Most of the surgeons reported having a sense of a patient’s financial well-being (65%) and an awareness of treatment costs (66.9%). Most felt a responsibility to consider the impact of BR costs (69%). Although most of the surgeons expressed that they were comfortable having OOC discussions (58.9%), only a minority reported doing so routinely (24.2%). The fewest respondents (8.6%) cited OOC as an important variable for BR decision-making. Lack of supportive tools was the most cited barrier to having cost communication with patients (64.8%). Cost communication was identified in a minority (20.2%) of surgeon–patient encounters and had no significant relationship to surgeon demographics or practice setting. Conclusions: Plastic surgeons rarely discuss costs of BR with patients despite having a high awareness of the topic and feeling comfortable with it. Prevailing attitudes about the importance of OOC and the lack of administrative support or cost information are likely the drivers of this mismatch and warrant further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-385
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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