Purpose: Hand assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy (HAL) is an effective approach to nephrectomy that is less morbid than open nephrectomy (ON). In response to budgetary pressure at our large county hospital we reviewed the published experience and identified the cost components of HAL that could be targeted to decrease procedure cost. Materials and Methods: A comprehensive literature review of HAL and ON was performed and certain parameters were abstracted, including operative (OR) time, operative equipment and hospital stay (LOS). Using these data the projected overall cost and individual cost centers at our institution for HAL and ON were compared. Decision tree analysis models were devised to estimate the cost of each treatment using computer software. One and 2-way sensitivity analyses were performed to evaluate the effect of individual treatment variables on overall cost. Results: The literature showed 6 and 9 reports on 127 and 419 patients for ON and HAL, respectively. LOS was 5 and 3 days for ON and HAL, respectively. OR time was 169 and 204 minutes for ON and HAL, respectively. Based on a review of the costs at our institution ON was a less costly procedure by $205 ($6,882 vs $7,087). The slight cost superiority of the open approach was due to significantly lower costs associated with operating room time and equipment. On the other hand, HAL demonstrated a cost advantage for LOS. One-way sensitivity analyses showed that HAL was less costly if HAL OR time was less than 184 minutes, LOS following HAL was less than 2.5 days or HAL OR supply costs were less than $718. Two-way sensitivity analysis demonstrated that HAL was cost advantageous if performed in less than 3 hours and the patient was discharged home within 3 postoperative days. Conclusions: Primary cost variables for nephrectomy include OR time, LOS stay and equipment cost. Using published data and decision tree analysis ON is slightly less costly by $205 than HAL at our institution. However, HAL can be more cost-effective than ON when OR time and LOS are low. Our model identifies several measures that can be used at any institution to render HAL economically superior to ON.
- Cost-benefit analysis
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