Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the cost associated with treatment of early stage endometrial cancer differs on the basis of the surgical approach.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on a series of women with presumed early stage endometrial cancer treated between 5/96 and 1/99 at a single institution. The patients were grouped according to the surgical approach utilized. The first group consisted of 19 patients who underwent laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and laparoscopic pelvic and paraaortic lymph node dissection. The second group consisted of 17 patients who underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and pelvic and paraaortic lymph node dissection. The two groups were compared with a two-tailed Student t test. Variables analyzed included age, Quetelet index (QI), surgical stage, number of lymph nodes, surgical time, estimated blood loss, postoperative complications, number of days in the hospital, and costs. The cost analysis was divided into room and board, pharmacy, ancillary services, operating room equipment, operating room services, and anesthesia.
Results: Both groups were similar in age, QI, and distribution of stage. The laparoscopic group required more OR time (237 vs 157 min, P < 0.001); however, the number of lymph nodes, estimated blood loss, and postoperative complications were not significantly different between the groups. The laparoscopic group required significantly shorter hospitalization than the laparotomy group (3.7 vs 5.2 days, P < 0.001) resulting in less room and board ($299 vs $454, P < 0.001) as well as pharmacy costs ($443 vs $625, P < 0.02). The cost of anesthesia was higher in the laparoscopic group ($696 vs $444, P < 0.001) but the costs of OR equipment, OR services, and total costs were not statistically different between the groups.
Conclusion: Laparoscopic surgical management of early stage endometrial cancer is feasible with minimal morbidity. The cost savings of early hospital discharge is offset by longer surgical time and higher anesthetic costs. The total costs for each surgical approach are not statistically different. The presumed advantages of less pain, early resumption of normal activities, and overall improvement of quality of life await further investigation.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.