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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul 08

J Craniomaxillofac Surg

Healthcare costs of post-traumatic trigeminal neuropathy in Belgium – A retrospective analysis.


Van der Cruyssen F, Nys M, Renton T, Vandeleene G, Callens M, Vanhaecht K, Jacobs R, Politis C, Luyten J
J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2022 Jul 08.
PMID: 35840459.


The present aim was to estimate direct health care costs of patients suffering from post-traumatic trigeminal neuropathy (PTTN) and to compare the use of health care services, medications, and costs between temporary and persistent (>3 months) PTTN cohorts. A pre-existing clinical dataset of PTTN patients visiting a tertiary orofacial pain clinic in Belgium was utilized, including symptoms and quality of life measurements. Cost and resource utilization data were obtained by Belgium's largest health insurance provider for a period of 5 years after onset. Data from 158 patients was analyzed. The average cost per patient in the first year after injury was €2353 (IQR 1426-4499) with an out-of-pocket expense of 25% of the total cost. Hospitalization and technical interventions were the main drivers of cumulative costs, followed by consultation costs. For each cost category, expenditure was significantly higher in patients with persistent PTTN than in those with temporary PTTN (median 5-year total costs in persistent PTTN patients yielded €8866 (IQR 4368-18191) versus €4432 (IQR 2156-9032) in temporary PTTN, p <0.001) PTTN patients received repeated and frequent head and neck imaging (mean number of imaging investigations per patient was 10 ± 12). Medication consumption was high, with an unwarranted higher use of opioids and antibiotics in persistent PTTN patients. Within the limitations of this study, it seems there is a need for informing patients in detail on the inherent risks of nerve damage during dental and oromaxillofacial procedures. Every surgery should be preceded by a risk-benefit assessment in order to avoid unnecessary nerve damage.