The purpose of this study was to investigate the financial implications of demographic and socioeconomic factors upon the cost of surgical procedures for craniosynostosis.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted of admissions for craniosynostosis surgery in the United States from 2015 through 2020 using the Pediatric Health Information System. Patient demographics, case volume, and surgical approach were analyzed in context of hospital charges.
During the study interval, 3869 patients were admitted for surgery for craniosynostosis. In multivariate regression accounting for demographic and socioeconomic factors, hospital admission charges were significantly higher in patients with longer hospital length of stay (P < 0.001), longer ICU length of stay (P < 0.001), living in an underserved area (P = 0.046), preoperative risk factors (P = 0.016), and those undergoing open procedures (P < 0.001); hospital admission charges were significantly lower in patients with White race (P = 0.020) and those treated at high-volume centers (P < 0.001). In multivariate regression, ICU length of stay was significantly higher in patients with preoperative risk factors (P < 0.001), undergoing open procedures (P < 0.001), government insurance (P = 0.018), and not treated at high-volume centers (P = 0.005). There were significant differences in admission charges (P < 0.001), charge-to-cost ratios (P < 0.001), and likelihood of being treated at high-volume craniofacial centers (P < 0.001) across geographic regions of the country.
In the United States, there is significant sociodemographic variability in charges for craniosynostosis care, with increased hospital charges independently associated with non-White race, preoperative risk factors, and living in an underserved area.