Kidney Cancer Surgery Has Many Benefits, but Cost Is Not Among Them

Posted by Admin on September 16, 2013
Robot-assisted surgery for removal of kidney tumors has risen quickly in use, and has both replaced and proven safer than conventional laparoscopic procedures for the same purpose, according to a study by researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. However, the study also finds that robotic partial nephrectomy, although it results in fewer complications than open and laparoscopic surgery, can result in excessive hospital fees.

According to senior author of the study, Kurshid Ghani, M.D., “We found excessive hospital charges were much greater with robotic partial nephrectomy. Although, we can report no cost-savings with this treatment approach – quite the opposite – the benefits are obvious.”

He adds that it is a safe procedure that has quickly replaced laparoscopic surgery as the least invasive treatment for partial nephrectomy.  It has demonstrated much better results than open surgery, and was superior to laparoscopy in every aspect, except cost.”

Dr. Ghani claims that data was collected from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and includes inpatient discharge information from over 1,000 U.S. hospitals.  Between the period of October 2008 and December 2010, researchers discovered a total of 38,000 patients who underwent open surgery, laparoscopy, and robotic-assisted surgery to treat kidney cancers that had not metastasized.

Of the patient population, nearly 70 percent underwent open surgery, nearly 24 percent received robot-assisted surgery, and a little more than 9 percent were treated with laparoscopy. The investigators also noted that although all three approaches to kidney cancer treatment had increased in 2010, robot-assisted partial nephrectomy soared by more than 45 percent, far outpacing the other two methods.

The research team followed complications as they arose during and following each procedure. They found patients undergoing robot-assisted surgery were least likely to receive a blood transfusion, while individuals who had open surgery were most likely to require one. The same was also true for developing complications following surgery or requiring an extended hospital stay. Only individuals who underwent robot-assisted surgery were less likely to develop complications following surgery.


Written by Elijah Lamond



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