Educating surgeons may allow for reduced intraoperative costs for inguinal herniorrhaphy

J Am Coll Surg. 2015 Jun;220(6):1107-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2015.02.030. Epub 2015 Mar 14.


Background: Our aim was to determine the impact of surgeon education regarding disposable supply costs to reduce intraoperative costs for a common procedure such as inguinal hernia repair.

Study design: At the end of the 2013 fiscal year (FY 13), surgeons in our department were provided with information about the cost of disposable equipment and implants used in common general surgery operations. Surgeons who historically had lower supply costs demonstrated individual techniques to their colleagues. No financial incentive or punitive measures were used to encourage behavior change. Surgical supply costs for laparoscopic and open inguinal hernia repair in FY13 were then compared with costs during fiscal year 2014 (FY14) using Mann-Whitney U tests.

Results: The average cost of laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs decreased from an average $1,088±473 (±SD) in FY13 (n=258) to $860±441 (n=274) in FY14 after surgeon education, representing a 21.0% reduction in intraoperative costs (p<0.001). The most impactful adjustments to reduce costs included selective use of mesh fixation devices (22.9%) and balloon dissecting trocars (27.6%), reduction in use of disposable scissors (13.8%), and reduction in use of disposable clip appliers (3.7%). Open inguinal hernia costs were reduced from an average (±SD) of $315±$253 in FY13 (n=366) to $288±$130 in FY14 (n=286), an 8.6% reduction in cost (p<0.01). In these cases, both avoiding the use of fixation devices and using less expensive mesh implants were identified as significant factors.

Conclusions: Surgeon education and empowerment may significantly reduce the cost of disposable equipment in laparoscopic and open inguinal hernia repair. This simple educational technique could prove financially beneficial throughout various procedures and disciplines.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost Control
  • Disposable Equipment / economics*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Hernia, Inguinal / economics
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Herniorrhaphy / economics*
  • Herniorrhaphy / education
  • Herniorrhaphy / instrumentation
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods
  • Hospital Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Laparoscopy / economics
  • Laparoscopy / education
  • Laparoscopy / instrumentation
  • Middle Aged
  • Surgeons / education*
  • Surgical Mesh / economics