Ferguson JE3rd, Goyal RK, Raynor MC, Nielsen ME, Pruthi RS, Brown PM, Wallen EM. Cost analysis of robot-assisted laparoscopic versus hand-assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. J Endourol. 2012 Aug;26(8):1030-7.

PURPOSE: To perform a cost comparison of three approaches to partial nephrectomy (PN): Open (OPN), hand-assisted laparoscopic (HALPN), and robot-assisted (RAPN).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated cost and clinical data from patients undergoing OPN, HALPN, and RAPN from 2007 to 2010 (n=89). Baseline demographic data, patient comorbidities, R.E.N.A.L. nephrometry score, and perioperative outcomes were assessed. Costs and subcosts from the operating room (OR) and hospital were evaluated using nonparametric statistical analyses.

Patient demographics and tumor characteristics were similar between HALPN and RAPN, while OPN patients had more comorbidities and more difficult-to-resect tumors. Thus, HALPN and RAPN were directly compared, while OPNs were excluded from the analysis. No difference was found in overall costs between HALPN and RAPN ($13,560 vs $13,439, P=0.29). OR costs were higher for RAPN ($7276 vs $5708, P=0.0001) because of the higher robotic capital and reusable equipment costs that outweighed higher disposable costs in the HALPN group. OR time-related costs were similar between groups. RAPN patients had a shorter length of stay (LOS), which decreased postoperative hospital costs ($4371 vs $5984, P=0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: No difference in overall cost was found between RAPN and HALPN. Robot allocation, OR equipment use, and LOS are important determinants of total cost. Further study regarding recovery and quality of life may reveal added benefits to minimally invasive approaches and increase use of nephron-sparing surgery.

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