Robotic surgery: Higher costs, average outcomes?

For minimally invasive ovarian surgeries, robotic surgery can be more expensive and doesn't necessarily improve incomes, according to research from Columbia University in New York published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"There's a widespread belief that newer is better but our findings question that. People need to stop and critically analyze whether using this expensive technology will really add any benefit for patients," said Jason D. Wright, MD, chief of gynecologic oncology at Columbia, in a Dow Jones Business News report.

The study examined nearly 90,000 ovarian surgeries conducted between 2009 and 2012. Patients who underwent robotic surgery had complication rates 1 percent higher for both ovarian and ovarian cyst surgery than did patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery. Costs for robotic surgery were between $2,500 and $3,300 more per surgery for robotic surgery patients.

The same group of researchers released similar findings on hysterectomies last year, according to the report.

While robotic surgery is often touted for its smaller incisions, reduced blood loss and diminished postoperative pain, laparoscopic surgery has the same benefits without the cost of the technology, according to the report.

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