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Laparoscopic and robot-assisted hysterectomy for uterine cancer: a comparison of costs and complications

      Objective

      Increasingly, robotic surgery is being used for total hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and lymph node dissection for uterine cancer. The purpose of this study was to compare the costs and complications among women undergoing robotic and laparoscopic hysterectomy for uterine cancer.

      Study Design

      We carried out a cohort study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database between 2008 and 2012 on all women diagnosed with uterine cancer, classifying women as either laparoscopically or robotically treated, excluding laparotomies or vaginal approaches. Logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the adjusted effect of surgical approach on complication rates.

      Results

      There were 10,347 women who underwent hysterectomies for uterine cancer either laparoscopically (39%) or robotically (61%). The rate of robotic surgery consistently increased over the 5 year period. Women undergoing robotic surgery had more comorbid conditions (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, obesity or morbid obesity, and pulmonary disease). In adjusted analyses, women undergoing robotic surgery were more likely to have a lymph node dissection (73.01% vs 66.04%; P < .0001) and an admission lasting <3 days (86.01% vs 82.5%; P < .0001) compared with those undergoing laparoscopic surgery. The composite endpoint of any complication was similar between both cohorts (20.56% robotic vs 21.00% laparoscopy). In overall and subset analyses, robotic surgery was more costly, with median charges of $38,161.00 compared with $31,476.00 in those undergoing laparoscopic surgery (P < .0001).

      Conclusion

      Despite the considerably greater burden of comorbidities in those undergoing robotic surgery compared with laparoscopy, the former have shorter hospital admissions, a greater rate of lymph node dissection, and similar postoperative morbidity and mortality, albeit at greater total cost.

      Key words

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