In recent years, the use of robotic-assisted adrenalectomy (RA) has increased; however, many surgeons question its reported higher cost. In this study, we review our experience and strategies to reduce the cost of RA comparing it to Laparoscopic adrenalectomy (LA). Since May of 2010, 122 consecutive patients underwent minimally invasive adrenalectomy (58 RAs and 64 LA) by a high-volume adrenal surgeon at our institution. A cost analysis was performed for RA versus LA. Cost calculations included anesthesia professional fee, procedure time and consumables fees. The calculated relative costs were $3527 for RA and $3430 for LA (p = 0.59). The average anesthesia time was 172.4 and 178.3 min for RA and LA, respectively (p = 0.40). The mean procedure times (skin-skin) were 124.4 min for RA and 129.1 min for LA (p = 0.50). Procedure time for the retroperitoneal approach was significantly shorter than the transabdominal approach for both the RA (101.2 vs. 126.6 min, p = 0.001) and LA group (104.4 vs. 135.4 min, p = 0.001). The average consumables fees were $1106 for RA versus $1009 for LA (p = 0.62). The average post-operative hospital stay was 1.7 days for RA and 1.9 days for LA (p = 0.18). This study shows that anesthesia and procedure times for RA were similar to those of LA. It also demonstrates that limiting the number of robotic instruments and energy devices while utilizing an experienced surgical team can keep the costs of RA comparable to those of LA.
Keywords: Anesthesia time; Cost of adrenalectomy; Da Vinci; Laparoscopic adrenalectomy; Procedure time; Robotic-assisted adrenalectomy.