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Sharp Rise Seen in Robotically Assisted Hysterectomies
Date:2/19/2013

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 10 percent of hysterectomies in the United States are performed robotically, say researchers who found the "robo" procedures jumped dramatically between 2007 and 2010.

But they question whether robotic surgery is preferable to another minimally invasive procedure, laparoscopic surgery, for women having their uterus removed for non-cancerous conditions. While the two procedures have similar complication rates, the robotically assisted hysterectomy costs roughly $2,200 more than the laparoscopic procedure, according to the new study.

"The robotically assisted procedure was substantially more expensive," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jason Wright, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York City.

Wright said more work is needed to determine which women would benefit from robotic hysterectomy.

"This data also raises a lot of questions about surgical innovations and the need to find ways to better study them before they diffuse into practice," he added.

Results of the study are published in the Feb. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Hysterectomy is a common treatment for non-cancerous gynecological conditions, such as fibroids, endometriosis and excessive bleeding. As many as one in nine U.S. women will undergo such a procedure, according to the study.

Different surgical techniques exist for performing a hysterectomy. One choice is traditional open surgery, where a surgeon removes the uterus through a 5- to 7-inch opening in the abdomen. Another is vaginal hysterectomy -- removal of the uterus through the vaginal opening. Laparoscopy is done with special tools that allow surgeons to perform the surgery using only small incisions. Robotically assisted surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery, b
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