Defining the Value of Breast Reconstruction Surgeons: Quantifying Clinical Encounter and Operative Volume at an Academic Center

Amanda R. Sergesketter, Lily R. Mundy, Hannah C. Langdell, Ronnie L. Shammas, Yisong Geng, Kristen Rezak, Geoffroy C. Sisk, Brett T. Phillips, Scott T. Hollenbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite growing rates of postmastectomy breast reconstruction, the time contribution of breast reconstruction surgeons in comprehensive breast cancer care is often poorly accounted for by hospital and healthcare systems. This study models encounter volume and operative time utilization of breast reconstruction surgeons among patients undergoing postmastectomy breast reconstruction. Methods: All clinical encounters and operative time from a consecutive sample of breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomy and reconstruction were analyzed. Encounter volume and operative time utilization less than or equal to 4 years after diagnosis were modeled over time. Results: A total of 5057 breast cancer encounters were analyzed. Mean (SD) clinical encounter volume was 45.9 (28.5) encounters per patient, with encounter volume varying by specialty [plastic surgery: 16.5; medical oncology: 15.9; breast surgery: 7.2; radiation oncology: 6.3 mean encounters]. Receipt of adjuvant radiation, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and major complications during reconstruction predicted higher encounter volume. Mean (SD) operative time utilization was 702 (317) minutes per patient [plastic surgery: 547 (305); breast surgery: 155 (71) minutes]. While both encounter volume and operative time for radiation oncologists and breast surgeons, respectively, were concentrated in the first year after diagnosis, medical oncologists and plastic surgeons sustained high clinical and operative time utilization 3 years after breast cancer diagnosis. Conclusions: Encounter volume and operative time utilization with breast reconstruction surgeons persist 3 years after a breast cancer diagnosis and are tied to treatment characteristics and incidence of reconstruction complications. Institutional- and system-level resource allocation must account for the complex and lengthy duration of care inherent to breast reconstruction care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e4692
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 12 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this