Women who have been told that they may require a hysterectomy have many factors to consider, including surgical recovery times, surgical approaches, and available alternatives. For many, though, paying for a hysterectomy is one of the largest concerns. According to a study from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, there may be comfort in knowing that with innovative minimally invasive hysterectomies being performed more than ever before, average total costs for the procedure have not increased. The study focused on comparing the cost-effectiveness between minimally invasive hysterectomy, including laparoscopic hysterectomy, and the traditional abdominal approach.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a surgical instrument called a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a thin, tube-like device with a tiny camera attached. Surgeons use imaging from the camera to perform procedures. Since the first laparoscope surgery was performed in 1988, use of the minimally invasive approach in a variety of procedures has steadily increased. Many surgeons and experts credit this to the many advantages, ease of use, and improved safety of laparoscopic instruments.
While many in the past have questioned whether there were true advantages to laparoscopic hysterectomy, many studies have concluded that the laparoscopic approach is associated with less blood loss, smaller declines in hemoglobin levels, faster recovery times, and fewer wound and abdominal infections. Generally, laparoscopic hysterectomy is associated with lower complication rates.
Another interesting and relevant benefit – especially during tough economic times – is thatlaparoscopic hysterectomy is more cost-effective than the traditional abdominal approach. A 2009 study found that costs for minimally invasive hysterectomy, including laparoscopic, were less than costs for abdominal hysterectomy. A wave of recent studies has also found laparoscopic hysterectomy to be more cost-effective than the robotic approach, specifically because robotic hysterectomy offers few benefits at a higher cost.
The Brigham & Women's study focused on 2,133 women who underwent hysterectomy. Researchers found that over the years, the total number of hysterectomies remained stable, while the percentages of abdominal and laparoscopic cases changed substantially. Abdominal hysterectomies declined from 64.7% in 2006 to 35.8% in 2009. Laparoscopic hysterectomy rose from 17.7% to 46%.
Researchers also noticed that rates of complications – both during and after surgery – also decreased. Operative costs increased, but total average costs remained the same. Reasons for the shift toward minimally invasive hysterectomy, according to the study, included national changes in practice patterns, increasing awareness among patients about benefits (financial and otherwise), and the creation of minimally invasive surgery programs at hospitals, including Brigham & Women's.
Dr. Tamer Seckin – founder of Hysterectomy.com – is a world-class gynecologic surgeon highly regarded for his work with laparoscopic surgery, hysterectomy, and related female conditions. If you are located in New York or the Tri-State Area – or would like to travel to New York – make an appointment to meet personally with Dr. Seckin to learn more about laparoscopic hysterectomy and your options.
To schedule an appointment, call 888-885-8311.