Financial analysis of open versus laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and nephroureterectomy

J Urol. 2002 Apr;167(4):1757-62.

Abstract

Purpose: Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and nephroureterectomy are rapidly becoming established procedures in select patients with renal cell carcinoma and upper tract transitional cell carcinoma, respectively. We present a retrospective comparative analysis of laparoscopic versus open radical nephrectomy and nephroureterectomy from a financial standpoint. The effect of the learning curve on costs incurred was also evaluated.

Materials and methods: Detailed itemized cost data on 18 contemporary cases of open radical nephrectomy performed from September 1997 to July 1998 were compared with similar data on 20 initial laparoscopic cases performed from September 1997 to July 1998 and 15 more recent laparoscopic radical nephrectomy cases performed from August 1998 to July 1999. Financial data were also compared on 14 contemporary patients each who underwent open radical nephroureterectomy from June 1997 to December 1999, initial laparoscopic radical nephroureterectomy from June 1997 to December 1998 and more recent laparoscopic radical nephroureterectomy from January 1999 to October 2000. Yearly financial costs were adjusted for inflation by a 4% annual rate to reflect year 2000 data.

Results: For radical nephrectomy mean operative time in the 18 open, 20 initial laparoscopic and 15 recent laparoscopic cases was 185.3, 205.7 and 147.3 minutes, respectively. Mean specimen weight was 555, 616 and 558 gm., and mean hospital stay was 132, 31 and 23 hours, respectively. Compared with open radical nephrectomy mean total costs associated with initial laparoscopy were 33% greater (p = 0.0003). Mean intraoperative costs were 102% greater and mean postoperative costs were 50% less. In contrast, the more recent laparoscopic cases were an overall mean of 12% less expensive than open surgery (p = 0.05). Mean intraoperative costs were only 33% greater and mean postoperative costs were 68% less. For radical nephroureterectomy mean operative time in the 14 open, 14 initial laparoscopic and 14 recent laparoscopic cases was 246, 196 and 195 minutes, respectively. Mean specimen weight was 442, 517 and 531 gm., and mean hospital stay was 142, 63 and 32 hours, respectively. Compared with open radical nephroureterectomy mean total costs associated with initial laparoscopic cases were 28% greater (p = 0.03). Mean intraoperative costs were 65% greater and mean postoperative costs were 27% less. In contrast, the more recent laparoscopic cases were an overall mean of 6% less expensive than open surgery (p = 0.63). Mean intraoperative costs were only 31% greater and mean postoperative costs were 62% less.

Conclusions: Initially in the learning curve laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and nephroureterectomy were 33% and 28% financially more expensive, respectively, than their open counterparts. However, with increased operator experience and efficiency resulting in more rapid operative time and decreased hospitalization laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and nephroureterectomy are currently 12% and 6% less expensive, respectively, than their open counterparts at our institution.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / economics*
  • Nephrectomy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ureter / surgery*