Author(s): Lotan Y, Cadeddu JA
PURPOSE: We evaluated the costs components of laparoscopic (LRP) and robot assisted prostatectomy (RAP), and compared their costs to those of open radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A model was created using commercially available software to compare the costs of treatment with LRP, RAP or RRP. Hospital costs were obtained from a large county hospital. A literature search was performed to determine typical (average) robot costs, length of stay and operative time for RRP, LRP and RAP. We limited our analysis to mature series and included only the most recent efforts. The cost of the robot was estimated at 1,200,000 dollars with a 100,000 dollars yearly maintenance contract. It was assumed that the robot would be used across specialities for a total of 300 cases yearly in a 7-year period. We performed a series of 1 and 2-way sensitivity analyses to evaluate the costs of LRP, RAP and RRP, while varying robot costs, the number of robotic cases, hospital length of stay, operative time and cost of laparoscopic/robotic equipment.
RESULTS: RRP was the most cost-effective approach with a cost advantage of 487 dollars and 1,726 dollars over LRP and RAP, respectively. If we excluded the initial cost of purchasing a robot, the cost difference between RRP and RAP was 1,155 dollars. This large difference in RRP and RAP costs resulted from a cost of 857 dollars per case to pay for robot purchase and maintenance, and the high cost of 1,705 dollars for equipment per case. An even shorter RAP operative time (140 vs 160 minutes) and length of stay (1.2 vs 2.5 days) did not compensate for the added expenditure. LRP cost more than RRP primarily due to equipment costs (533 dollars) since the shorter hospital stay (1.3 vs 2.5 days) was compensated for by longer operative time (200 vs 160 minutes).
CONCLUSIONS: The costs of new technology are typically borne out in the first years of use and RAP is no exception with high robot costs for purchase, maintenance and operative equipment overshadowing savings gained by shorter length of stay. While RRP is currently the least costly approach, LRP has proved to be almost as cost competitive as RRP, whereas RAP will require a significant decrease in the cost of the device and maintenance fees.