A recent study finds that there are large cost savings and many economic benefits associated with robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy.

A study titled “A Multidimensional Analysis of Prostate Surgery Costs in the United States: Robotic-Assisted versus Retropubic Radical Prostatectomy,” was recently published in Value in Health.

In the United States, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and accounts for 27 percent of all cancer diagnoses. With the estimated direct costs of cancer diagnoses totaling over $125 billion, and more than 80 percent of prostate cancer surgeries done by robotic-assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy (RALP), the financial impact of prostatectomies on the healthcare economy is enormous.

In this study, researchers examined the financial impact of RALP versus Retropubic Radical Prostatectomy (RRP) for each radical prostatectomy by performing a systematic peer-reviewed literature search for clinical outcomes and by creating cost models for three different ways to assess the costs: hospital costs, payers’ expenditure and society’s expenses.

The results of the study revealed cost savings for hospitals, payers and society, when RALP surgeries are performed with da Vinci® Surgical Systems compared to RRP surgeries. Statistical analyses showed a clear cost savings with RALP for payers (99%) and society (83%) and for the individual hospital 38 to 79 percent of the time.3 While previous research has been limited to a single cost model, often direct hospital and robotic system costs, this study included multiple ways to assess the costs, reporting cost savings of $1,451 per patient for the payer and $1,202 per patient in societal savings.

“It is clear that the adoption of robotic-assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy eases the financial burden of prostate cancer on our healthcare system,” said Dr. Ashutosh Tewari, Professor and System Chair of Urology at Mount Sinai Health System. “As the healthcare providers strive to improve both patient outcomes and achieve greater value, this data shows that technologies like the da Vinci Surgical System can simultaneously deliver cost-effective treatment and care that can make surgery easier on patients.”

The study also calculated the costs of the robotic system in two different ways – as hospital overhead including hospital costs, inpatient bed, and inpatient days (resulting in $1,094 in hospital savings) and using the annual volume of robotic procedures ($341 in extra costs). This demonstrates that potentially higher robotic surgical expenditures are counteracted by cost savings due to better clinical outcomes, including reduced complications , improved functional outcomes (e.g. continence and sexual function), and a faster recovery.

“This study further demonstrates that hospital administrators need to look beyond visible operating room costs when analyzing the robotic-assisted surgery value proposition,” said Myriam Curet, M.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer at Intuitive Surgical, Inc. “The ability of robotic-assisted surgery to reduce complications and shorten hospital stays, undoubtedly leads to greater value for patients and healthcare providers.”

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