Perineal reconstruction after radical pelvic surgery: A cost-effectiveness analysis

Published:November 20, 2022DOI:



      Radical resection of pelvic and low rectal malignancies leads to complex reconstructive challenges. Many pelvic reconstruction options have been described including primary closure, omental flaps, and various fasciocutaneous and myocutaneous flaps. Little consensus exists in the literature on which of the various options in the reconstructive armamentarium provides a superior outcome. The authors of this study set out to determine the costs and quality-of-life outcomes of primary closure, vertical rectus abdominus muscle flap, gluteal thigh flap, and gracilis flap to aid surgeons in identifying an optimal reconstructive algorithm.


      A decision tree analysis was performed to analyze the cost, complications, and quality-of-life associated with reconstruction by primary closure, gluteal thigh flap, vertical rectus abdominus muscle flap, and gracilis flap. Costs were derived from Medicare reimbursement rates (FY2021), while quality-adjusted life-years were obtained from the literature.


      Gluteal thigh flap was the most cost-effective treatment strategy with an overall cost of $62,078.28 with 6.54 quality-adjusted life-years and an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $5,649.43. Gluteal thigh flap was always favored as the most cost-effective treatment strategy in our 1-way sensitivity analysis. Gracilis flap became more cost-effective than gluteal thigh flap, in the scenario where gluteal thigh flap complication rates increased by roughly 4% higher than gracilis flap complication rates.


      Our data suggest that, when available, gluteal thigh flap be the first-line option for reconstruction of pelvic defects as it provides the best quality-of-life at the most cost-effective price point. However, future studies directly comparing outcomes of gluteal thigh flap to vertical rectus abdominus muscle and gracilis flap are needed to further delineate superiority.
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