Cost-Effective Management of Isolated Facial Fractures

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the subset of costs incurred for surgical treatment of isolated midface and mandible fractures of patients admitted directly from the emergency department compared with those admitted as outpatients after evaluation and discharge from the emergency department. After institutional review board approval, the records of patients admitted to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center were studied retrospectively for patients who underwent surgical repair of an isolated facial fracture between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000. Patients were placed into one of two groups: admission from the emergency department versus admission as an out-patient. Total hospital charges were compared, and complications were evaluated. Mechanism of injury, age, and gender were recorded within each group. Forty-two patients met the study criteria. Twenty-eight patients were admitted directly from the emergency department (Group A), and 14 were admitted as outpatients after elective scheduling for operative repair (Group B). Operative charges based on utilization of time and materials showed no statistical significance between Group A (P = 0.275) and Group B (P = 0.393). Patients admitted directly from the emergency department had a mean hospital charge of $3,556.66 higher (P≤0.001) and stayed 2 days longer in the hospital as compared with the outpatient group. No differences were noted in complications between the study groups. The results of this study reveal a significant decrease in cost for patients with isolated facial fractures admitted as outpatients on scheduling surgery as compared with immediate admission from the emergency department.

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