JAMA: Minimally Invasive Surgery Could Save $14B
Had six minimally invasive procedures replaced their respective traditional surgeries, $14 billion could have been saved through medical expenses and workplace absenteeism in 2009, according to a study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association Surgery magazine.
Researchers analyzed outcomes from a sample of 321,956 adult patients who received any of six types of surgeries in 2009 that had open or minimally invasive options: coronary revascularization, uterine fibroid resection, prostatectomy, peripheral revascularization, carotid revascularization and aortic aneurysm repair.
When compared to traditional surgery, three of the six minimally invasive alternatives cost less, and four allowed patients to return to work significantly sooner. Coronary revascularization had the greatest savings potential, costing $30,850 and 37.7 workdays less when performed with minimally invasive techniques.
However, two of the six less-invasive maneuvers cost more than traditional options; health plans paid $1,350 more for prostatectomies and $4,900 more for carotid revascularization.
Still, the savings from opting for all six minimally-invasive procedures would have yielded net savings nationally of $8.9 billion for employer-sponsored health plans and 53,134 person-years in worker absenteeism, which researchers valued at $2.2 billion. An additional $3.1 billion could have been saved by using minimally invasive procedures on all patients undergoing the six surgeries in 2009, researchers estimated.
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