Men who elect to undergo robotic prostatectomy rather than the standard open prostatectomy or laparoscopic prostatectomy can expect the procedure to be significantly more costly but also safer. A study in the Journal of Urology notes that men who had robotic prostatectomy had a lower risk of needing a blood transfusion or dying, and enjoyed a shorter hospital stay when compared with the other prostatectomy options.
The study evaluated surgical data from a national government database on prostatectomies performed during the last three months of 2008 and found that about 53% of the procedures were robot-assisted, 44 percent were an open prostatectomy, and 3 percent of men had a standard laparoscopic prostatectomy.
According to the investigators, a robotic prostatectomy cost about $700 more than a laparoscopic prostatectomy and $1,100 more than an open procedure. Five percent of the men who had an open prostatectomy required a blood transfusion compared with less than 2 percent of men who had a robotic prostatectomy. Overall, both laparoscopic surgery and robotic assisted prostatectomy were associated with fewer deaths, need for transfusions, and complications and required a shorter length of hospital stay when compared with open surgery.
The first reported robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (using the da Vinci system) was described in the Journal of Urology in 2001 and was soon followed by several other experts who published their experiences. Since that time, the technique has gained in acceptance and popularity in the United States and Europe.
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Yu H-Y et al. Use, costs and comparative effectiveness of rootic assisted, laparoscopic and open urological surgery. The Journal of Urology 2012 Apr; 187(4): 1392-99