Cost Differences Between the Anterior and Posterior Approaches to the Iliac Crest for Alveolar Bone Grafting in Patients With Cleft Lip/Palate
There has been debate in the literature regarding the advantages of an anterior versus posterior approach to the iliac crest harvest for alveolar bone grafting (ABG) in patients with cleft lip and palate. The purpose of this study was to add a cost perspective to the discussion. This was a retrospective microcost analysis for the perioperative period for 2 approaches to graft harvest for ABG in patients with cleft lip and palate. Patient charts and hospital and physician financial databases were searched for detailed cost data in the 30 days before and after ABG for 18 patients who underwent anterior or posterior iliac crest harvest at Children's Hospital Boston. In addition, short-term outcomes for these 18 patients were documented (duration of operation, need for physical therapy services, complications, and hospital length of stay) and compared with the larger study group at the same institution. There was a trend toward lower overall median costs for posterior compared with anterior iliac crest harvest ($18,269 vs $21,801, respectively; P = .15). The differences in cost were seen in inpatient hospital services after the operation, including ward and physical therapy costs, which were significantly lower for the posterior versus the anterior approach. This corresponded with a shorter median length of stay (1 day vs 2 days, respectively; P = .03). There was no significant difference in operating room, recovery room, or outpatient costs. More patients undergoing posterior harvest had bilateral ABG, offsetting the decreased inpatient costs with increased physician costs. The overall cost for ABG in patients with cleft lip and palate was not significantly different between the anterior and posterior approached to iliac crest harvest. Inpatient cost was lower in the posterior group because of a shorter length of stay.