As robotics in medicine becomes more widely adopted, two new studies look at the cost and advantages and disadvantages of robotic surgery versus freehand surgery.
University of Stanford researchers conducted a multiyear analysis and study with 24,000 patients with kidney cancer who needed laparoscopic surgery to remove a patient’s kidney indicated that the two approaches had comparable patient outcomes and hospital stays. Researchers analyzed data from 416 hospitals across the country from 2003 to 2015 for the study.
Robotic-assisted laparoscopic procedures have increased since 2015 and surpassed conventional laparoscopic procedures according to Dr. Benjamin Chung, Associate Professor of Urology at the University of Stanford. Dr. Chung said in a press release that although there was no statistical difference in outcome or length of hospital stay, the robotic-assisted surgeries cost more and had a higher probability of prolonged operative time. Over the 13-year period of Stanford study, robotic surgeries cost on average $2,700 more per patient.
Mazor Robotics, a publicly-traded Israeli company that makes robotic guidance systems for spine and brain surgeries, conducted a small controlled study on the use of robotic-guided spine surgery with 379 patients. These results and the remaining data from the study, collected by 10 surgeons from nine states indicated that relative risk for a complication was 5.3 times higher in fluoro-guided surgeries compared to the robotic guidance; and relative risk for revision surgery was 7.1 times higher for a fluoro-guided surgery compared to the robotic guided cases.
“We believe the study takes a significant step forward in shifting the conversation of whether robotics have a place in the spine operating room,” said Ori Hadomi, CEO, Mazor Robotics.
The study also showed a 78% decrease in exposure to radiation with robotic surgery. The results of the clinical trials from their study, Robotic Versus Freeland Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgeries, can be found in the US Library of National Medicine.
Despite the lack of consistent data from studies on the clear benefits of robotic surgery, adoption of robotic surgery is on solid ground.
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