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Topic: Paying for Wound Vac

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Mar 30, 2008 04:42PM

YUMMY wrote:

Not sure if this is the right topic area, but if there's a financial one i missed it.  Frown

My DME coverage is 50% and I'm going to end up with a $2K bill for less than a month on my wound vac.  We're not destitute, and now that DH has a ft job again our income is gonna probably be too good for most financial help, but like the rest of the world we are playing catch up (and lost our son as a dependent so owe the IRS this year).  Will probably have to set up a payment schedule for the coinsurance but was wondering if anyone new of some financial help for their wound vac?  With chemo and rad copays, will probably be able to hit the 7.5%  and claim it on next years taxes at least...

Dx 11/14/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, 3/28 nodes, ER+
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Mar 30, 2008 07:13PM cindiedee wrote:

Oh Yummy - I feel for you -I don't know of any financial resources but perhaps the Koman Foundation?  Or perhaps your docs/hospital can point you in the right direction?  A lot of times there are local resources to help you out.

I was on a wound vac all last summer at a cost of $4000 a month plus the meds, the supplies, etc - thank the Lord I have good insurance.  Because I had so many complications from PBM/SGAP, my bills totaled over $300,000 and without the insurance, I couldn't have done it - we would have had to sell our house to pay the medical bills.

Unfortunately my DH has heart problems and has had 3 cardiac surgeries and a hip replacement (all by the time he was 55 years old!) - believe me - we had lousy insurance at the time and over that 5 year span, we paid out over $90,000 for our part of what wasn't paid by insurance - it was killing us and we were literally spending out life's savings.  But he would have died without the surgeries -so we have been able to deduct all medical expenses for the last 6 years - thank the Lord that something good came out of all of it!

My prayers are with you during your journey - it is bad enough to have BC but then to have to worry every moment about the bills makes in unbearable.

Hugs, Cindie

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Mar 31, 2008 08:31AM YUMMY wrote:


thank you for your suggestions and kind words.  my brother-in-law is the owner of a home oxygen company and I told him he should get into the wound vac business. even if a machine costs $50k, it's paid for itself in a year and after that it's all profit.   i'm glad i had one and appreciate how well it worked but the cost is ridiculous!!

you and HD have certainly had a few 'life experiences' (that's how i try to look at it.. my experince with cancer, not cancers experience with me) over the past 5 years. with stress contributing to our overall wellness or lack of, it's amazing people survive. that's why i really try to stay as positive as possible and believe everything will work out in Gods time and one day i'll know why my soul chose this journey for me to experience. i'm sending my prayers to you and HD for health and peace of mind.  thanks again. 


Dx 11/14/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, 3/28 nodes, ER+
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Mar 31, 2008 08:42AM flyrzfan wrote:

Ladies....I'm meeting with the PS tomorrow to discuss options for surgery scheduled on 4/21. Can you tell me why you ended up needing the services of a wound vac? I know all to well what they are for....my mom was on one for 7 months. Was this as a result of recon surgery for you guys?

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Mar 31, 2008 08:46AM tam1953 wrote:

I was on a wound vac for several months and had lousy insurance. No, i am not aware of any resources to help you, but I just had my taxes done and the accountant said it looks like i won't have to pay ANY taxes this year due to high medical expenses. So there's that anyway. Best wishes to you.

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Mar 31, 2008 10:25AM YUMMY wrote:


i had bilat tram and ended up with necrosis on my abdominal wound.  the dr told me it was a possibility, especially because of my size. i was 300lbs before my surgery and so the blood vessels had a lot of fat to work through.  ps told me if i was 25lbs heavier and 10 yrs older he would not have done  the procedure so i do appreciate that he did it and accept that i had the complication... even though i was hoping i wouldn't!    but i don't believe this is the 'norm' for 'normal' sized women, although anyone could have vascular compromise, especially if they smoke . there's a link on my profile if you want to read more about my story.  lot of it is emotional reaction, but i documented every week or so to keep friends and family updated on what my whole experience was like.  i wish you a successful procedure and speedy recovery. 

Dx 11/14/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, 3/28 nodes, ER+
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Mar 31, 2008 07:02PM cindiedee wrote:

Flyrzfan - I had PBM with SGAP recon - and one of my butt cheek incisions dehisced - basically the incision fell apart and I had a huge hole in my butt cheek - you could actually see inside the hole and see fat, sutures, etc.  Because it was so large, I had to go on a wound vac all last summer and it worked - without it my hole would still not be healed.  Don't worry about needing one - it is rare but then again, there are a few of us rare folks around who needed one.  But - it is not standard - only for serious problems.


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Mar 31, 2008 07:06PM candie1971 wrote:

What is wound vac?

Good friends are like stars....you don't always see them but you know they are always there. Dx 5/26/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 31, 2008 08:31PM - edited Mar 31, 2008 08:32PM by YUMMY


darn!  just deleted my explaination... will start again.  here's a link


 but basically, if you have a large deep wound, mine was 22cmx5cmx3.5cm, they might use a wound vac.  sponge is inserted into the wound, that is covered by a thin self stick film (kinda like contact paper) and then a rubber 'nipple' type thingy is attached and connected to a hose which goes to a canister which is attached to a portable vacuume.  you wear it 24/7 and would have a home care nurse change it 3days a week or as ordered.  the vacuume constatnly suctions fluid from the wound and encourages tissue growth.  if you have a smaller wound, the dr would probably just order wet to dry acetic acid dressing changes which you can do yourself or have a hc nurse do them.

oh... here's something i found out halfway through.  there are these things called skin-prep wipes.  they help form a seal with medical tape or the vac film BUT they also protect the skin and make it much easier to remove tape etc!  my skin was so raw after a while and removing the film before the nurse came so i could shower was a long and painful process before i found out about the wipes.  once i had them it was a cinch!  they're like 50 for $5.00 (ask for generic) at a medical supply store and sooooo worth it!

Dx 11/14/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, 3/28 nodes, ER+

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