BACKGROUND: The most common type of breast reconstruction is implant-based breast reconstruction. Implant-based reconstruction has been reported to impact quality-of-life outcomes. Therefore, the authors sought to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of saline versus silicone implants. METHODS: The authors retrospectively reviewed data from patients who underwent breast reconstruction with saline or silicone implants at their institution. This included type of procedure, acellular dermal matrix use, complications, and number of revisions. Costs were estimated using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services physician fee schedule and hospital costs. Effectiveness was measured using BREAST-Q-adjusted life-years, a measure of years of perfect breast health, based on BREAST-Q data collected before mastectomy and reconstruction and at 12 months after final reconstruction. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was obtained for silicone and saline reconstruction. RESULTS: The authors identified 134 women, among which 77 (57 percent) underwent silicone and 57 (43 percent) underwent saline breast reconstruction. The cost of saline reconstruction was $1288.23 less compared with silicone. BREAST-Q-adjusted life-years were 28.11 for saline and 23.57 for silicone, demonstrating higher cost-effectiveness for saline. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for saline was -$283.48, or $283.48 less per year of perfect breast-related health postreconstruction than silicone. CONCLUSIONS: The authors' results indicate that saline breast reconstruction may be more cost-effective compared with silicone at 12 months after final reconstruction. Silicone was both more expensive and less effective than saline. However, given the relatively small cost difference, surgeon and patient preference may be important in determining type of implant used.
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