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The Reality of Commercial Payer-Negotiated Rates in Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

Rochlin, Danielle H; Rizk, Nada M; Flores, Roberto L; Matros, Evan; Sheckter, Clifford C
BACKGROUND:Commercial payer-negotiated rates for cleft lip and palate surgery have not been evaluated on a national scale. The aim of this study was to characterize commercial rates for cleft care, both in terms of nationwide variation and in relation to Medicaid rates. METHODS:A cross-sectional analysis was performed of 2021 hospital pricing data from Turquoise Health, a data service platform that aggregates hospital price disclosures. The data were queried by CPT code to identify 20 cleft surgical services. Within- and across-hospital ratios were calculated per CPT code to quantify commercial rate variation. Generalized linear models were used to assess the relationship between median commercial rate and facility-level variables and between commercial and Medicaid rates. RESULTS:There were 80,710 unique commercial rates from 792 hospitals. Within-hospital ratios for commercial rates ranged from 2.0 to 2.9 and across-hospital ratios ranged from 5.4 to 13.7. Median commercial rates per facility were higher than Medicaid rates for primary cleft lip and palate repair ($5492.20 versus $1739.00), secondary cleft lip and palate repair ($5429.10 versus $1917.00), and cleft rhinoplasty ($6001.00 versus $1917.00; P < 0.001). Lower commercial rates were associated with hospitals that were smaller ( P < 0.001), safety-net ( P < 0.001), and nonprofit ( P < 0.001). Medicaid rate was positively associated with commercial rate ( P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS:Commercial rates for cleft surgical care demonstrated marked variation within and across hospitals, and were lower for small, safety-net, or nonprofit hospitals. Lower Medicaid rates were not associated with higher commercial rates, suggesting that hospitals did not use cost-shifting to compensate for budget shortfalls resulting from poor Medicaid reimbursement.
PMID: 36847669
ISSN: 1529-4242
CID: 5606542

"Bone Tissue Engineering in the Growing Calvaria: A 3D Printed Bioceramic Scaffold to Reconstruct Critical-Sized Defects in a Skeletally Immature Pig Model"

DeMitchell-Rodriguez, Evellyn M; Shen, Chen; Nayak, Vasudev V; Tovar, Nick; Witek, Lukasz; Torroni, Andrea; Yarholar, Lauren M; Cronstein, Bruce N; Flores, Roberto L; Coelho, Paulo G
BACKGROUND:3D-printed bioceramic scaffolds composed of 100% beta(β)-tricalcium phosphate augmented with dipyridamole (3DPBC-DIPY) can regenerate bone across critically sized defects in skeletally mature and immature animal models. Prior to human application, safe and effective bone formation should be demonstrated in a large translational animal model. This study evaluated the ability of 3DPBC-DIPY scaffolds to restore critically sized calvarial defects in a skeletally immature, growing minipig. METHODS:Unilateral calvarial defects (~1.4cm) were created in six-week-old Göttingen minipigs (n=12). Four defects were filled with a 1000µ M 3DPBC-DIPY scaffold with a cap (a solid barrier on the ectocortical side of the scaffold to prevent soft tissue infiltration), four defects were filled with a 1000µM 3DPBC-DIPY scaffold without a cap, and four defects served as negative controls (no scaffold). Animals were euthanized 12-weeks post-operatively. Calvaria were subjected to micro-computed tomography, 3D-reconstruction with volumetric analysis, qualitative histologic analysis, and nanoindentation. RESULTS:Scaffold-induced bone growth was statistically greater than negative controls (p≤0.001) and the scaffolds with caps produced significantly more bone generation compared to the scaffolds without caps (p≤0.001). Histological analysis revealed woven and lamellar bone with the presence of haversian canals throughout the regenerated bone. Additionally, cranial sutures were observed to be patent and there was no evidence of ectopic bone formation or excess inflammatory response. Reduced elastic modulus (Er) and hardness (H) of scaffold-regenerated bone were found to be statistically equivalent to native bone (p = 0.148 for Er of scaffolds with and without caps, and p = 0.228 and p = 0.902, for H of scaffolds with and without caps, respectively). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:3DPBC-DIPY scaffolds have the capacity to regenerate bone across critically sized calvarial defects in a skeletally immature translational pig model.
PMID: 36723712
ISSN: 1529-4242
CID: 5420092

Three-Dimensional Printing Bioceramic Scaffolds Using Direct-Ink-Writing for Craniomaxillofacial Bone Regeneration

Nayak, Vasudev Vivekanand; Slavin, Blaire V; Bergamo, Edmara T P; Torroni, Andrea; Runyan, Christopher M; Flores, Roberto L; Kasper, F Kurtis; Young, Simon; Coelho, Paulo G; Witek, Lukasz
Defects characterized as large osseous voids in bone, in certain circumstances, are difficult to treat, requiring extensive treatments which lead to an increased financial burden, pain, and prolonged hospital stays. Grafts exist to aid in bone tissue regeneration (BTR), among which ceramic-based grafts have become increasingly popular due to their biocompatibility and resorbability. BTR using bioceramic materials such as β-tricalcium phosphate has seen tremendous progress and has been extensively used in the fabrication of biomimetic scaffolds through the three-dimensional printing (3DP) workflow. 3DP has hence revolutionized BTR by offering unparalleled potential for the creation of complex, patient, and anatomic location-specific structures. More importantly, it has enabled the production of biomimetic scaffolds with porous structures that mimic the natural extracellular matrix while allowing for cell growth-a critical factor in determining the overall success of the BTR modality. While the concept of 3DP bioceramic bone tissue scaffolds for human applications is nascent, numerous studies have highlighted its potential in restoring both form and function of critically sized defects in a wide variety of translational models. In this review, we summarize these recent advancements and present a review of the engineering principles and methodologies that are vital for using 3DP technology for craniomaxillofacial reconstructive applications. Moreover, we highlight future advances in the field of dynamic 3D printed constructs via shape-memory effect, and comment on pharmacological manipulation and bioactive molecules required to treat a wider range of boney defects.
PMID: 37463403
ISSN: 1937-3392
CID: 5535642

Mandibular Dysmorphology and Clinical Presentation in Treacher Collins Syndrome

Tonello, C; Dias, G B; Nunes, R B; Fussuma, C Y; Sousa, L R; Feitosa, L B; Flores, R L; Alonso, N
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Treacher Collins syndrome is a rare congenital disease characterized by the multiple craniofacial malformations. Although the deformities affecting patients with Treacher Collins syndrome have been well characterized, the effects of these malformations to clinical severity of the syndrome are not well understood. OBJECTIVE:To determine the association of specific Treacher Collins mandibular malformations with clinical severity. DESIGN/METHODS: SETTING/METHODS:Study conducted at a single institution, a quaternary craniofacial care center. PATIENTS/METHODS:54 patients with Treacher Collins syndrome. INTERVENTIONS/METHODS:Computed tomography (CT), clinical photographs and medical history were included in this analysis. Mandibles were isolated from CT data and reconstructed in three dimensions using Mimics software. Cephalometric measurements were performed on CT data. Clinical severity was determined by Teber and Vincent scores. Association of craniofacial dysmorphology to clinical severity was determined by Spearman rank coefficient. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES/METHODS:The main results obtained were the measurements of the mandibles and the quantification of the malformations of the evaluated patients. RESULTS:Among the most frequent findings in the sample are hypoplasia of the zygomatic complex, descending palpebral cleft and mandibular hypoplasia. Patients with a lower ramus/corpus ratio had a higher (more severe) Teber and Vincent classification. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Patients with the most compromised mandible are also the patients with the highest number of malformations, thus, the most severe patients.
PMID: 37437901
ISSN: 1545-1569
CID: 5537662

Change in Lower Lip Position After Le Fort I Advancement in Patients with Bilateral vs. Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate

Schechter, Jill; Alcon, Andre; Verzella, Alexandra; Shetye, Pradip; Flores, Roberto
To compare lower lip changes after Le Fort I advancement surgery in patients with a cleft. Single institution, retrospective review. Academic tertiary referral hospital. Skeletally mature patients with a cleft who underwent one-piece Le Fort I advancement surgery who had a lateral cephalogram or cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan preoperatively and at least 6 months postoperatively. Patients who underwent concomitant mandibular surgery or genioplasty were excluded. 64 patients were included: 45 male and 19 female, 25 with BCLP and 39 with UCLP. The mean age at surgery was 18.4 years. Single jaw one-piece Le Fort I advancement surgery. Standard lateral cephalometric landmarks of the bony skeleton and soft tissue were compared before and after Le Fort I advancement. Pearson correlation coefficients (r) were calculated to measure the correlation between lower lip position and other soft and hard tissue changes. After comparable maxillary advancements [BCLP: 7.2 mm (95% CI: 6.2-8.3 mm), UCLP: 6.4 mm (95% CI: 5.7-7.0 mm)] the horizontal upper-to-lower lip discrepancy significantly improved in both groups. The lower lip became thinner and more posteriorly positioned. Changes in lower lip position correlated strongly with mandibular bony landmarks and moderately with upper lip position, but poorly with maxillary landmarks. Le Fort I advancement results in posterior displacement of the lower lip and better lip competence, thereby improving facial harmony. This lower lip change is not predictable by degree of maxillary advancement, and does not differ in patients with BCLP vs. UCLP.
PMID: 38836361
ISSN: 1545-1569
CID: 5665332

Characterizing Cleft Rhinoplasty Across Skeletal Maturity: A Systematic Review of Terminology and Surgical Techniques

Park, Jenn J; Laspro, Matteo; Arias, Fernando D; Rodriguez Colon, Ricardo; Chaya, Bachar F; Rochlin, Danielle H; Staffenberg, David A; Flores, Roberto L
OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study is to assess cleft rhinoplasty terminology across phases of growth.Design/Setting: A systematic review was performed on cleft rhinoplasty publications over 20 years.Interventions: Studies were categorized by age at surgical intervention: infant (<1 year); immature (1 to 14 years); mature (>15 years).Main Outcome Measures: Collected data included terminology used and surgical techniques. RESULTS:The 288 studies included demonstrated a wide range of terminology. In the infant group, 51/54 studies used the term "primary." In the immature group, 7/18 studies used the term "primary," 3/18 used "secondary." In the mature group, 2/33 studies used the term "primary," 16/33 used "secondary," 2/33 used "definitive," 5/33 used terms such as "mature," "adult," and "late," and 8/33 did not use terminology.Surgical technique assessment demonstrated: cleft rhinoplasty at infancy used nostril rim or no nasal incision, immature rhinoplasty used closed and open rhinoplasty incisions; and mature rhinoplasty used a majority of open rhinoplasty. Infant and immature cleft rhinoplasty incorporated septal harvest or spur removal in <10% of cases, whereas these procedures were common in mature rhinoplasty. No studies in infants or immature patients used osteotomies or septal grafts, common techniques in mature rhinoplasty. CONCLUSIONS:Current terminology for cleft rhinoplasty is varied and inconsistently applied across stages of facial development. However, cleft rhinoplasty performed at infancy, childhood, and facial maturity are surgically distinct procedures. The authors recommend the terminology "infant," "immature," and "mature" cleft rhinoplasty to accurately describe this procedure within the context of skeletal growth.
PMID: 37050895
ISSN: 1545-1569
CID: 5464222

Primary surgical repair for bilateral cleft lip

Chapter by: DeMitchell-Rodriguez, Evellyn M.; Flores, Roberto L.
in: Cleft and Craniofacial Orthodontics by
[S.l.] : wiley, 2023
pp. 173-182
ISBN: 9781119778363
CID: 5425512

Anatomy of cleft lip and palate

Chapter by: Boyd, Carter J.; Slowikowski, Leslie; Flores, Roberto L.; Schuster, Lindsay A.
in: Cleft and Craniofacial Orthodontics by
[S.l.] : wiley, 2023
pp. 61-73
ISBN: 9781119778363
CID: 5425632

Cleft palate repair

Chapter by: Lin, Alexandra J.; Flores, Roberto L.
in: Cleft and Craniofacial Orthodontics by
[S.l.] : wiley, 2023
pp. 183-195
ISBN: 9781119778363
CID: 5425702

National Undervaluation of Cleft Surgical Services: Evidence from a Comparative Analysis of 50,450 Cases

Rochlin, Danielle H; Chaya, Bachar F; Flores, Roberto L
BACKGROUND:Relative value units (RVUs) are broadly used for billing and physician compensation; however, the accuracy of RVU assignments has not been scientifically evaluated for craniofacial surgery. The authors hypothesize that unbalanced RVU allocation creates inappropriate disparities in value among procedures performed by cleft and craniofacial surgeons. METHODS:The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric database was queried to identify all cleft and craniofacial surgery cases performed by plastic surgeons from 2012 to 2019 based on CPT code. Microsurgical cases and CPT codes with a case count of fewer than 10 were excluded. Efficiency was defined as total RVUs divided by total operative time (ie, RVUs/hour). Mean efficiency per CPT code was ranked and compared by quartile using t tests. RESULTS:The sample consisted of 69 CPT codes with 50,450 cases. In the top quartile, most CPT codes were craniofacial procedures including frontofacial procedures (23.53%) and craniectomies for craniosynostosis or bony lesions (35.29%) (mean, 15.65 ± 4.22 RVUs/hour). The lowest quartile was composed mainly of CPT codes for cleft procedures including operations for velopharyngeal insufficiency (17.65%), cleft palate repair (23.53%), and cleft septoplasty (5.88%) (mean, 7.39 ± 0.98 RVUs/hour; P < 0.001). It was 2.5 times more efficient for a cleft and craniofacial surgeon to perform a local skin flap (15.18 RVUs/hour) than a secondary palatal lengthening for cleft palate (6.09 RVUs/hour). CONCLUSIONS:The current RVU allocation to cleft and craniofacial procedures creates arbitrary disparities in physician efficiency, with cleft procedures disproportionately negatively affected. RVU assignments should be reevaluated to avoid disincentivizing cleft surgical care.
PMID: 36730532
ISSN: 1529-4242
CID: 5447922