A Comparison of Open and Minimally Invasive Surgery for Hepatic and Pancreatic Resections Among the Medicare Population

J Gastrointest Surg. 2018 Dec;22(12):2088-2096. doi: 10.1007/s11605-018-3883-x. Epub 2018 Jul 23.


Introduction: Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has become standard of care for many gastrointestinal surgical procedures. Despite possible clinical benefits, MIS may be underutilized in some populations. The aim of this study was to access the utilization of MIS among Medicare patients undergoing hepatopancreatic procedures and define clinical outcomes, as well as costs, of minimally invasive techniques compared with the conventional open approach.

Methods: The Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MEDPAR) Inpatient Files were reviewed to identify Medicare patients who underwent pancreatic and liver procedures between 2013 and 2015. Primary outcomes of the analysis included perioperative clinical outcomes such as rates of complications, index hospitalization length-of-stay (LOS), failure-to-rescue, rates, and causes of 90-day readmission, as well as 90-day mortality. Secondary outcomes were Medicare payments for index hospitalization and readmission. Multivariable logistic regression was used to investigate the impact of MIS on clinical outcomes and health expenditures.

Results: A total of 13,716 (90.6%) patients underwent open resection, while MIS was performed in 1424 (9.4%) patients. LOS was shorter among patients undergoing MIS (mean 7.3 ± SD 7.3) versus open (mean 9.3 ± SD 9.1) surgery (p < 0.001). The incidence of perioperative complications was lower following MIS (open 25.5%, n = 3492 vs. MIS 17.2%, n = 245) (p < 0.001). Rates of failure-to-rescue were similar among patients undergoing an open versus MIS pancreatic procedure (open 19.4%, n = 271 vs. MIS 13.4%, n = 17) (p = 0.09). In contrast, 90-day readmission (open 31.1%, n = 1630 vs. MIS 24.1%, n = 201, p < 0.001), as well as 90-day mortality (open 7.7%, n = 404 vs. MIS 4.2%, n = 35, p < 0.001) were lower among patients undergoing pancreatic resections via an MIS approach. In contrast, failure-to-rescue and readmission, as well as mortality, were all comparable among patients undergoing a liver resection, regardless as to whether the operation was performed open or via an MIS approach (all p > 0.05). Mean total payments for open pancreatic surgery were on average $1421 higher in the open versus MIS pancreatic group (p = 0.01); in contrast, there was no difference in the overall payment for hepatic resection (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: The MIS approach was underutilized among patients undergoing liver and pancreatic procedures. MIS was associated with lower complication and readmission and shorter LOS, as well as comparable/slightly lower Medicare payments, compared with the open approach. The MIS approach should strongly be considered among older patients undergoing liver and pancreatic procedures.

Keywords: Hepatectomy; Medicare; Minimally invasive surgery; Pancreatectomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / economics
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Hepatectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Liver / surgery
  • Male
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pancreas / surgery
  • Pancreatectomy / economics
  • Pancreatectomy / methods
  • Pancreatectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology