BARCELONA — The French FEMCAT study evaluating the cost-effectiveness of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery is close to 1,800 enrollments and may be completed by the first half of 2016, Béatrice Cochener, MD, announced at the meeting of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.
The study aims at providing the scientific basis for a potential adoption of the femtosecond procedure within the French health system.
“We hope to be eventually able to prove the better cost-utility ratio of femto over phaco in spite of the higher cost of the procedure and to produce an appropriate economical model,” Cochener said.
This is, she said, “a big challenge for femto because the comparison is with a procedure that has proven so good that it is even comparable with hip surgery and superior to knee arthroplasty or defibrillator implantation in heart surgery.”
The FEMCAT study was designed by the late Joseph Colin, MD, in 2012 and was funded by the French Ministry of Health with €3.2 million.
It is a prospective, randomized clinical trial comparing femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery with classic phacoemulsification. It involves five university centers and aims at including 2,000 patients. Following a competitive public tender for five machines, the Catalys laser system (Abbott Medical Optics) was selected to be used in the study.
Preliminary analysis of the first 10 cases performed by each surgeon showed very good visual acuity results and a complication rate of 16%, “oddly enough, more frequent with older and more experienced surgeons,” Cochener said.
“What we can already assume is that the FEMCAT study will provide positive indications and will be a vehicle for introducing innovation not only in France but in the rest of Europe,” Cochener said. – by Michela Cimberle
Disclosure: Cochener reports no relevant financial disclosures.