A retrospective comparison of robotic cholecystectomy versus laparoscopic cholecystectomy: operative outcomes and cost analysis
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Robotic-assisted surgery is gaining popularity in general surgery. Our objective was to evaluate and compare operative outcomes and total costs for robotic cholecystectomy (RC) and laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC).
Methods and Procedures
A retrospective review was performed for all patients who underwent single-procedure RC and LC from January 2011 to July 2015 by a single surgeon at a large academic medical center. Demographics, diagnosis, perioperative variables, postoperative complications, 30-day readmissions, and operative and hospital costs were collected and analyzed between those patient groups.
A total of 237 patients underwent RC or LC, and comprised the study population. Ninety-seven patients (40.9 %) underwent LC, and 140 patients (50.1 %) underwent RC. Patients who underwent RC had a higher body mass index (p = 0.03), lower rates of coronary artery disease (p < 0.01), and higher rates of chronic cholecystitis (p < 0.01). There were lower rates of intraoperative cholangiography (p < 0.01) and conversion to an open procedure (p < 0.01), however longer operative times (p < 0.01) for patients in the RC group. There were no bile duct injuries in either group, no difference in bile leak rates (p = 0.65), or need for reoperation (p = 1.000). Cost analysis of outpatient-only procedures, excluding cases with conversion to open or use of intraoperative cholangiography, demonstrated higher total charges (p < 0.01) and cost (p < 0.01) and lower revenue (p < 0.01) for RC compared to LC, with no difference in total payments (p = 0.34).
Robotic cholecystectomy appears to be safe although costlier in comparison with laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Further studies are needed to understand the long-term implications of robotic technology, the cost to the health care system, and its role in minimally invasive surgery.
KeywordsRobotic surgery Laparoscopic surgery Cholecystectomy Cost analysis
The authors would like to thank Rebecca Dettorre, MA, CCRC, senior research coordinator, for her work in the facilitation of this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
David S. Strosberg, Michelle C. Nguyen, Peter Muscarella II, and Vimal K. Narula have no conflict of interest in writing this manuscript.
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