Outpatient Alveolar Bone Grafting

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Alveolar bone graft (ABG) has traditionally been performed with a postoperative inpatient stay secondary to donor site pain. Upon transitioning from an open iliac bone harvesting technique to an Acumed trephine, the authors observed that donor site pain was reduced eliminating an inpatient stay. This study examines the cost savings associated with outpatient ABG surgery.


A retrospective single-institution review was conducted on all patients who had an ABG performed from 2012 to 2015. Patients were categorized based upon hospital stay: inpatient, observation (23-hour), or outpatient. Cost data reported included: total direct cost, total variable direct cost, fixed direct cost, and the sum of total direct costs for both medical/surgical supplies and operating room costs. T tests were used to determine differences in various cost categories between groups of patients.


Sixty-two procedures were performed: 7 procedures were inpatient, 16 observation, and 39 outpatient. The total direct costs averaged $4536 for inpatients, $3222 for the observation group, and $3340 for the outpatient group. Inpatient and outpatient costs were significantly different (P <0.01). Total variable direct costs (P <0.05) and fixed direct costs (P <0.01) were significantly lower in the outpatient/observation group. All costs for the observation group were significantly lower than inpatient costs, but were not significantly different than outpatient costs. There were no readmissions reported.


Cost of an inpatient stay is significantly higher than outpatient or 23-hour observation for ABG procedures. The Acumed trephine technique allows for same-day discharge. In the face of declining reimbursement, safe and cost-efficient treatments are an appealing option.

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