Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ear reconstruction service and rationing, US v UK

Ear reconstruction service

Recently I found out, by accident (ask me in person how), that my local BC/BS carrier only pays for ear reconstruction if hearing is an issue, not for cosmetics. I was curious about whether England's NHS would be so, well, "rationing" of care. Turns out, they are OK with it. But remember, your insurer never denies the procedure, they just deny the payment! There, feel better?

Ear reconstruction is considered as one of the most challenging operations in plastic surgery. It is usually undertaken in specialist centres, where, with the appropriate training and case availability it is possible to attain excellent results. The majority of plastic surgeons see 1-2 cases per year. In view of the rarity of the condition specialist centres such as the Royal Free Hospital have developed to provide a national tertiary referral service. Ear reconstruction is requested by two main groups of patients: those who have an underdeveloped ear at birth (a condition known as microtia) and those who have lost a normal ear through trauma, disease or previous surgery.

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