Background: Surgical costs are influenced by perioperative care, readmissions, and further therapies. We aimed to characterize costs in hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery in the United States. Methods: The MarketScan database (2008–2010) was used to identify privately insured patients undergoing pancreatectomy (n = 2254) or hepatectomy (n = 1702). Costs associated with the index surgery, readmissions, and total short-term costs were assessed from a third party payer perspective using generalized linear regression models. Results: Mean total costs of pancreatectomy and hepatectomy were $107,600 (95% confidence interval [CI], 101,200–114,000) and $81,300 (95% CI, 77,600–85,000), respectively, with corresponding surgical costs of 69.2% and 60.9%. Ninety-day readmission costs were $36,200 (95% CI, 32,000–40,400) and $34,100 (95% CI, 28,100–40,100), respectively. In multivariate analysis, readmissions were associated with an almost two-fold increase in total costs in both pancreatectomy (cost ratio = 1.98; P < 0.001) and hepatectomy (cost ratio = 1.92; P < 0.001). Conclusions: Hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery is associated with significant economic burden in the privately insured population. Substantial costs are incurred beyond the index surgical admission, with readmissions representing a major source of potentially preventable health care spending. Sustained efforts in defining high-risk populations and decreasing the burden of postoperative complications through a combination of prevention and improved outpatient management offer promising strategies to reduce readmissions and control costs.
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