Shifts in Reduction Mammaplasty Surgical Volumes With the Emergence of a Global Pandemic.

Publication date: Apr 01, 2024

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant changes to the surgical caseload for various surgery departments across the United States. As medical institutions prioritized resources for the expected increase in patient volumes due to the SARS-CoV-2 viral infection, surgical departments saw a decrease in nonemergent and elective surgical procedures. Reduction mammoplasties, which are largely covered by insurance, are among the elective procedures that provide significant revenue to the hospital. This expected decline in procedures suggests a potential decline in revenue provided by the plastic surgery department of a hospital. The purpose of this study was to analyze the loss of revenue experienced by a single academic medical institution due to changes in breast reduction mammoplasty volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon institutional review board approval, using the Augusta University Medical Center’s Financial Billing Data, 373 patients who underwent bilateral reduction mammoplasty were queried. A time horizon of March 2019 to February 2022 was used to determine the pre- and post-COVID case load and charges that were incurred. Statistical analysis to compare the prior 12 months and after 24 months of COVID was conducted using 2 samples of equal variance t test and F test confirming equal variance. There was a statistically significant increase in the number of reduction mammoplasties performed per month from the year before the onset of COVID-19 (March 2020) to the 2 years after (6. 6-11. 4 per month, P = 0. 0024). There was a statistically significant increase in the per-month charges from the AU Health system for reduction mammoplasties for the same period ($31,780. 92-$52,113. 34 per month, P = 0. 0054). Although there was an increase in per-month revenue from reduction mammoplasties, this increase failed to reach statistical significance ($7,059. 95-$10,423. 51 per month, P = 0. 064). The plastic surgery department saw a statistically significant increase in reduction mammoplasty cases and subsequent charges in the post-COVID cohort. These findings suggest that the emergence of a nationwide pandemic did not necessarily lead to a decrease in the volume of nonemergent surgical cases despite an expected decrease in caseload due to the need to reallocate hospital resources. On the contrary, there was an increase in caseload suggesting that there may be other factors contributing to patients’ pursuance of reduction mammoplasty post-COVID including convenience, resulting from time off due to pandemic, meeting insurance-covered reduction criteria, and projected recovery time.

Concepts Keywords
February Caseload
Revenue Covid
Surgery Decrease
Viral Expected


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease MESH viral infection
disease VO time
drug DRUGBANK Aspartame
disease VO volume

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