Outcome and cost analysis for outpatient skin grafting

Dennis C. Gore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: To reduce cost, outpatient surgery is advocated when feasible; however, the potential of compromising outcome is a concern. The purpose of this review is to assess patient outcome and cost for managing operative burn injuries without hospitalization. Methods: During the past 18 months, 54 patients were identified with burns amenable to operative debridement and skin grafting without hospitalization. Twenty patients chose to be hospitalized and underwent prompt skin grafting. Operative skin grafting as an outpatient was chosen by the remaining 34 patients. Of these, four patients were subsequently hospitalized postoperatively (two for pain, one for cellulitis, and one for vomiting). Results: Hospitalized Patients and outpatients were similar in age and extent of burn; however, those hospitalized underwent skin grafting sooner after injury (2.1 ± 0.4 days for inpatients vs. 11.5 ± 0.8 days for outpatients; mean ± SEM). Inpatients also had a significantly larger area skin-grafted (286 ± 24 cm2 for inpatients vs. 178 ± 14 cm2 for outpatients). Graft take was very good in each group. Cost, as indexed by patient charge, was substantially less for outpatients ($2,397 ± $222] than for inpatients ($17,220 ± $410). Conclusion: These results demonstrate a significant cost reduction with nonhospitalized operative care of burn injuries without any overt detriment in outcome, thus endorsing outpatient skin grafting when amenable. This review also illustrates that delaying operative intervention reduces the burn area required for grafting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-602
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambulatory surgery
  • Burns
  • Economies
  • Finance
  • Hospitalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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