In the first study to compare actual costs instead of anticipated costs, researchers have concluded the robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy cost significantly more than radical retropubic prostatectomy.
The single-center study estimated that operating room supplies accounted for almost all of this increased cost.
Researchers looked at 473 consecutive patients scheduled to undergo either robotic-assisted (n=115) or radical retropubic prostatectomy (n=358) by one of four surgeons at a single institution.
The researchers found that although the length of hospital stay was similar between robotic-assisted (1.2 days) and radical retropubic (1.4 days), the overall cost for robotic-assisted surgery was 62% higher than that of traditional prostatectomy ($14,006 vs. $8,686; P<.05).
A majority of the additional costs were due to operating room costs such as purchasing and upkeep of the robotic equipment ($417 vs. $59; P<.05). Other costs associated with surgery — such as cardiology, imaging, administrative, laboratory and pharmacy costs — were similar between the two groups, with no statistically significant difference.
One limitation to the study is that it did not take into account long-term complications of the two surgery types. In addition, it only calculated patient costs and not costs associated with surgeon fees, loss of productivity or quality-of-life issues.