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Costly robotic surgeries no safer than regular procedures

[preamble]Knew this was coming – no way can an expensive robot designed to make the manufacturer money will lower costs. MAYBE better outcomes but as we can see  – nope. Hence, is not this increasing the cost of healthcare? Do we not think I am paying enough? What happened to GOOD surgeons?[backtopost]
September 10, 2013  | By

Increasingly troubling news about robotic surgery continues to emerge. This  time, a study published recently in the journal Obstetrics  and Gynecology finds that robotic cases cost substantially more than  laparoscopic cases of hysterectomy, despite no apparent safety benefits.

After identifying women who underwent robotic or laparoscopic surgery for  benign disease in 2009 and 2010, and using propensity scores based on  in-hospital complications, hospital length of stay, and hospital changes, the  study authors have determined that the perioperative outcomes are similar  between the two modes of surgery, but that robotic surgery costs close to $2,500  more to a hospital, per patient.

“Unfortunately, the greater costs associated with robotic-assisted  hysterectomy were not reflected in improvement in outcomes,” the researchers,  from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas,  say, according to Bloomberg.

According to research published last week in the Journal for  Healthcare Quality, complications from robotic surgery are widely  underreported. Of the roughly 1 million robotics surgeries performed since 2000,  only 245 complications (including 71 deaths) were reported to the U.S. Food and  Drug Administration, according to the study.

In March, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that  robotic surgery for hysterectomies should not be a first or even second choice  for women undergoing routine procedures, due, in part, to the learning  curve associated with the robotic system. That same month, health officials in Massachusetts sent a letter outlining safety  concerns about robotic surgery after two damaging incidents involving robots  performing hysterectomies.