Nav: Home

Study examines patients' willingness to pay to fix facial deformities

March 24, 2016

How much would you be willing to pay to fix a facial defect? A new study published online by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery examined that question.

As the incidence of skin cancer has increased, reconstruction of facial defects because of surgery to remove cancer is an increasingly common reason for patients to see a facial plastic surgeon.

Lisa E. Ishii, M.D., M.H.S., of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and coauthors measured health state utility (a health-related area of quality of life) and dollar value (as measured by the maximum amount of money a person is willing to pay) for surgically reconstructing facial defects.

The authors measured these from the perspective of casual observers - to gain a societal perspective -- because patients who seek out reconstruction surgery for facial defects often do so over concern about what others will think of their defect.

The study included a socioeconomically diverse group of 200 casual observers who looked at images of faces with defects of varying size and location before and after surgical reconstruction. Participants were asked to imagine the defect was on their own face and to rate their health state utility and how much they would be willing to pay to have the defect surgically repaired to appear normal.

The observers placed a premium on repairing large and central facial defects and were willing to pay less to repair small and peripheral facial defects. For example, the average "willingness to pay" (WTP) ranged from $1,170 to repair small peripheral facial defects to $7,875 to repair large central defects, according to the results. Facial defects also were perceived to decrease quality of life, the authors report.

The study notes the data may be different from actual patient experience and the actual costs of surgical reconstruction.

"Surgical reconstruction of facial defects is viewed as a high-value intervention that nearly eliminates this quality-of-life penalty for most defects. These findings have important implications for patients, surgeons and health policymakers. They also set the framework for using WTP [willingness to pay] to better understand facial perception," the authors conclude.
-end-
(JAMA Facial Plast Surg. Published March 24, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2015.2365. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)

Editor's Note: Please see the articles for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Commentary: What Cost-Utility Analysis Can Teach Us About Facial Deformity

"The perspective of healthy members of the general public provides a valuable perspective on societal value, but such individuals may easily underestimate the blight of disfigurement. It behooves us to remember that utilities assigned by the general public often mismatch those of patients, bearing out the need for experiential data from our patients. As we strive for precision in valuation in facial plastic surgery, patient-centered approaches to research and care will remain our touchstone," writes Michael J. Brenner, M.D., of the University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, in a related commentary. (JAMA Facial Plast Surg. Published March 24, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2016.0044. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)

Editor's Note: Please see the articles for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Media advisory: To contact study corresponding author Lisa E. Ishii, M.D., M.H.S., call Vanessa McMains at 410-502-9410 or email vmcmain1@jhmi.edu. To contact commentary author Michael J. Brenner, M.D., call Shantell Kirkendoll at 734-764-2220 or email smkirk@umich.edu.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Health Articles:

Public health guidelines aim to lower health risks of cannabis use
Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released today with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations, provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks.
Generous health insurance plans encourage overtreatment, but may not improve health
Offering comprehensive health insurance plans with low deductibles and co-pay in exchange for higher annual premiums seems like a good value for the risk averse, and a profitable product for insurance companies.
The Lancet Planetary Health: Food, climate, greenhouse gas emissions and health
Increasing temperatures, water scarcity, availability of agricultural land, biodiversity loss and climate change threaten to reverse health gains seen over the last century.
With health insurance at risk, community health centers face cut-backs
Repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, combined with a failure to renew critical funding streams, would result in catastrophic funding losses for community health centers-forcing these safety net providers to cut back on services, lay off staff or shut down clinical sites, according to a report published today.
Study clusters health behavior groups to broaden public health interventions
A new study led by a University of Kansas researcher has used national health statistics and identified how to cluster seven health behavior groups based on smoking status, alcohol use, physical activity, physician visits and flu vaccination are associated with mortality.
Tailored preventive oral health intervention improves dental health among elderly
A tailored preventive oral health intervention significantly improved the cleanliness of teeth and dentures among elderly home care clients.
Study finds that people are attracted to outward signs of health, not actual health
Findings published in the journal Behavioral Ecology reveal that skin with yellow and red pigments is perceived as more attractive in Caucasian males, but this skin coloring does not necessarily signal actual good health.
In the January Health Affairs: Brazil's primary health care expansion
The January issue of Health Affairs includes a study that explores a much-discussed issue in global health: the role of governance in improving health, which is widely recognized as necessary but is difficult to tie to actual outcomes.
University of Rochester and West Health Collaborate on d.health Summit 2017
In collaboration with West Health, the University of Rochester is hosting the third annual d.health Summit, a forum for health care and technology leaders, entrepreneurs, senior care advocates and policymakers to exchange ideas, create new partnerships, and foster disruptive technological and process innovations to improve the lives of the nation's aging population.
Study links health literacy to higher levels of health insurance coverage
The federal Affordable Care Act is intended to make it easier for individuals to buy health insurance, but are the uninsured equipped to navigate the choices faced in the insurance marketplace?

Related Health Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...