Robotic hysterectomy soars, adding cost but little benefit

02/26/2013

The use of robotic surgery for hysterectomies is soaring across the U.S. but adds little benefit while significantly increasing care costs, concludes a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from Columbia University evaluated data on 264,758 women who underwent hysterectomy for noncancer reasons at 441 U.S. hospitals from 2007 to early 2010. During that time, the use of robotic surgery shot from 0.5% to 9.5% of all hysterectomies. In hospitals where the procedure had been performed for three years, 22.4% of hysterectomies were robotic-assisted by 2010. Laparascopic hysterectomy -- an alternative, minimally invasive procedure -- increased from 24.3% to 30.5% of hysterectomies. Overall complication rates for robotic-assisted and laparoscopic hysterectomy were similar -- 5.5% versus 5.3%, respectively. Robotic procedures, however, cost $2,189 more than laparascopic hysterectomy. Read the study.

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