Microvascular reconstruction and tracheotomy are significant determinants of resource utilization in head and neck surgery

James Cohen, Mary Stock, Benjamin Chan, Mary Meininger, Mark Wax, Peter Andersen, Edwin Everts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Background: Successful 'critical pathway' design and implementation are dependent on appropriate patient stratification according to those factors that are primary determinants of resource utilization. Objectives: To test the validity of our previously reported critical pathway design and to determine whether tracheotomy and microvascular reconstruction (MR) are primary determinants of resource utilization. Design: Cost-effectiveness analysis. Setting: Tertiary referral academic institution. Methods: Retrospective analysis of data from 133 head and neck surgery cases in which the treatment regimen was based on critical pathways over a 26-month period. Outcome Measures: Length of stay and total patient charges were used as indices of resource utilization. One-way analysis of variance and t tests were used for statistical analysis of significance. Results: Ninety patients (67.7%) underwent MR; 43 (32.3%) did not. Seventy-five patients (56.4%) underwent tracheotomy; 58 (43.6%) did not. Four patient groups were constructed in decreasing order of complexity as follows: group 1, patients who underwent both tracheotomy and MR (n=58); group 2, patients who underwent MR alone (n=32); group 3, patients who underwent tracheotomy alone (n=17); and group 4, patients who did not undergo either procedure (n = 26). Both tracheotomy and MR were found to be independent determinants of resource utilization and were additive when both were present. The length of stay varied from 8.4 days (in patients who underwent both procedures) to 6.7 days (in patients who did not undergo either procedure), with intermediate values in cases in which only 1 procedure was performed. The total charges varied in a similar manner from a high of $33371 to a low of $19994. Subanalysis with respect to intensive care unit, ward, and operating room charges showed a similar stratification. Conclusion: Tracheotomy and MR are both significant determinants of charges and length of stay in head and neck surgery cases and must be considered in the design of strategies to promote efficient resource utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-949
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this