Breast Reconstruction Affected by Insurance and Distance

Breast Reconstruction Affected by Insurance and Distance

A new research suggests that the probability of women getting reconstructive surgery done, after the removal of breasts due to cancer, is affected by insurance coverage and the distance at which the doctor’s office is located. The study involved the evaluation of data from almost 5,400 females in North Carolina. The research was conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina.

All the participating women were detected with breast cancer from 2003 to 2006, and underwent breast removal surgery before the completion of six months from the date of detection. The research revealed that breast reconstruction surgery was performed on 20% of the women within two years of getting breasts removed.

It was also found that there was 42% less chance of getting breast reconstruction done by those females who have Medicare coverage, as compared to those who have private insurance. The chances of breast reconstruction were 76% less among females with Medicaid coverage. Both Medicare and Medicaid are the health insurance programs offered by the government of the U.S.

It was also discovered by the researchers that distance from the doctor’s office was also a decisive factor for breast reconstruction. Females who lived at a distance of 10-20 miles from a plastic surgeon's office had a 22% less probability of undergoing breast reconstruction, as compared to women who lived within 10 miles. The probability was 27% less in females who lived at a distance of over 20 miles.

The research was published by the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery during their August edition. The study also disclosed racial factors for getting breast reconstruction, probability of which was 50% less among minority patients as compared to white women. "We know that breast cancer affects not only the physical well-being of the patient, but also her psychosocial well-being, and we know that breast reconstruction can help address those issues," said study first author, Dr. Michelle Roughton.