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Robotic Surgery Hikes Hysterectomy Costs

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 20, 2013

But Myriam Curet, MD, chief medical advisor at Intuitive and a consulting professor at Stanford University disagrees with Wright's report.

She says hysterectomies with da Vinci robot allow many women to opt for  minimally invasive surgery instead of undergoing an open abdominal hysterectomy, or laparotomy, which requires a large abdominal incision, their only other choice. That's because many doctors around the country have not been trained in traditional laparoscopic techniques, which require more training, or just prefer doing procedures with the robot.

"Even after 20 years of laparotomies, only 25% to 30% of women are able to have a laparoscopic hysterectomy because there are limitations in doing that procedure...There's a complex learning curve to get past."

Additionally, she said, some morbidly obese patients are unsuitable for traditional laparoscopic procedures, but can more easily undergo the operation using the robot.

Lastly, she disputed Wright's conclusion that the robot is more expensive than traditional laparoscopy.

"There have been other studies that looked at lap versus the robot, and they found decreased readmission rates, decreased in some complications, decreases in pain scores and quicker recovery" with robots compared with traditional laparoscopy.

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1 comments on "Robotic Surgery Hikes Hysterectomy Costs"


aaron wilson (3/1/2013 at 11:00 AM)
At our Hospital the robot costs (on average)only $300 to 400 dollars more for a robotic Hysterectomy. The article glosses over the fact that robotic patients have a better chance at going home earlier. Most people, if given the chance, would rather spend less rather than more time in a hospital. The longer you stay in a Hospital the greater your chances of a nosocomial infection. It is established fact that a longer hospital stay increases a patient's chance of a Hospital acquired infection. A better title would have been. "Robotic hysterectomy patients go home quicker - with a price."