Robotic Surgery Hikes Hysterectomy Costs

Cheryl Clark, February 20, 2013

Hospitals considering buying another surgical robot might think twice in light of study findings showing that for its primary use—hysterectomies for benign disease like fibroids—the robot offers no better outcomes compared with traditional laparoscopic hysterectomies, but costs $2,189 more per patient.

That's according to research by Jason D. Wright, MD, of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and colleagues, which is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Wright drew conclusions from an analysis of 264,758 hysterectomy procedures chronicled by the Premier database of 441 participating hospitals. The files include information from all payers between 2007 and 2010.

"The robot was introduced for prostatectomy years ago, but slowly diffused into other procedures" like hysterectomy, Wright says. "But the problem is we don't have a lot of data comparing outcomes in patients who underwent these procedures robotically versus other methods. This is really the first large study that compares them."


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