Is robotic surgery cost-effective? Depends on who you ask.

By | December 20, 2011

imageI thought this was very interesting. Dueling robots?

This is where pharmacy is with robotics. We should conduct a little research into their cost-effectiveness versus accuracy and speed. Know what I mean?

The articles below come from Current Opinion in Urology, Jan 2012; 22(1)

Article 1 Pages 61-65

Is robotic surgery cost-effective: yes.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: With the expanding use of new technology in the treatment of clinically localized prostate cancer (PCa), the financial burden on the healthcare system and the individual has been important. Robotics offer many potential advantages to the surgeon and the patient. We assessed the potential cost-effectiveness of robotics in urological surgery and performed a comparative cost analysis with respect to other potential treatment modalities.

RECENT FINDINGS: The direct and indirect costs of purchasing, maintaining, and operating the robot must be compared to alternatives in treatment of localized PCa. Some expanding technologies including intensity-modulated radiation therapy are significantly more expensive than robotic surgery. Furthermore, the benefits of robotics including decreased length of stay and return to work are considerable and must be measured when evaluating its cost-effectiveness.

SUMMARY: Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery comes at a high cost but can become cost-effective in mostly high-volume centers with high-volume surgeons. The device when utilized to its maximum potential and with eventual market-driven competition can become affordable.

Article 2 Pages 66-69

Is robotic surgery cost-effective: no.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Utilization of robotic surgery has increased dramatically in recent years, but there are significant cost implications to acquisition and utilization of robots. This review will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of using robotics in urologic surgery.

RECENT FINDINGS: This study will evaluate studies comparing outcomes for open, laparoscopic and robotic procedures as well as costs associated with these procedures.

SUMMARY: Current studies have not found the robotic approaches to be cost-effective. In order for the robot to be cost-effective, there needs to be an improvement in efficacy over alternative approaches and a decrease in costs of the robot or instrumentation.

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