(RxWiki News) In 1998, the Federal government mandated that insurance companies pay for breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy or lumpectomy. New studies show that women are increasingly opting for this procedure - some more than others, though.
The number of women having breast reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy has nearly doubled between 1998 and 2007.
"Insurance companies should pay for breast reconstructive surgery."
Mark Sisco, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed national data to learn that all forms of breast reconstruction surgeries have increased from 12 to 23 percent from 1998 to 2007 among some women.
To determine what factors influenced women to have breast reconstruction within 90 days of having a mastectomy, the team evaluated data on 396,434 women who had the procedure between 1998 and 2007.
Dr. Sisco and his team found some women were twice as likely to have this surgery. These patients tended to be more affluent women who had private health insurance, lived in metropolitan areas, were cared for at academic centers and were not African American.
Gedge Rosson, M.D., associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told dailyRx, "We find that women who don't have breast reconstruction surgery aren't as aware of their options."
"Women who have private insurance and higher incomes are more likely to research what's available, identify and travel to breast centers to have the surgery," Dr. Rosson said.
For this study, Dr. Sisco's team analyzed data from the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) of the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society. This is a nationwide oncology outcomes database for more than 1,500 Commission on Cancer- accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Dr. Sisco is encouraged that the study shows better utilization of the surgery, but adds "It’s clear that we haven’t done a very good job of narrowing the gap in patients who have lower socioeconomic status or live in smaller communities."
This research was presented at the 2011 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.
It should be noted that research is considered preliminary before it's published in a peer-reviewed journal.