Face Transplant Costs Similar to Multiple Reconstructions

Surgery, nursing, and anesthesia account for bulk of face transplant cost

MONDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- The cost of facial transplant is similar to multiple conventional reconstructions, according to a case report of the first U.S. face transplant published in the February issue of the American Journal of Transplantation.

Maria Siemionow, M.D., Ph.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues treated a 46-year-old female shotgun-blast victim with facial trauma resulting in multiple functional and aesthetic consequences. The patient underwent numerous conventional reconstructions over the course of five years, with poor results. In December 2008, she was the recipient of the first U.S. face transplant. The costs of the conventional reconstructions and face transplant were compared.

The investigators calculated that the combined cost of the 23 conventional procedures was $353,480, and the cost of the face transplant was $349,959. Direct costs of transplant were calculated as $206,646 pre-transplant, $232,893 peri-transplant, and $74,236 post-transplant. The greatest costs were incurred in surgery (38.5 percent), nursing (27 percent), anesthesia (12 percent), and pharmacy (8 percent).

"While we have focused on the financial issues regarding facial transplantation, the alleviation of psychological and physiological suffering, the potential for functional recovery, and the renewed hope given to our patient may be considered priceless," the authors write.

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