Robotic-assisted repair of complex ventral hernia: can it pay off?

Abstract

Pressure on health care providers is growing due to capping of remuneration for medical services in most Western European countries. We wanted to investigate, if robotic-assisted ventral hernia repair is reasonable from an economic point of view in our setting. Patients undergoing open or robotic-assisted repair for complex abdominal wall hernia using a Transversus Abdominis Release (TAR) between September 2017 and January 2019 were included. Procedure-related costs were calculated exact to the minute and cost unit accounting for the postoperative in-patient stay was done. Abdominal wall reconstruction using the TAR-technique was done in a total of 26 (10 female) patients via an open (n = 10) or robotic-assisted (n = 16) approach. No significant difference was seen in regard to age, BMI and ASA scores between subgroups. Time for operation was longer (253.5 vs 211.5 min; p = 0.0322), while postoperative hospital stay was shorter for patients operated with a robotic-assisted approach (4.5 vs 12.5 days; p < 0.005). Procedure-related costs were 2.7-fold higher when a robotic-assisted reconstruction was done (EUR 5397 vs. 1989), while total costs for in-patient stay were about 60% lower (EUR 2715 vs 6663). Currently, revenues by national insurance account for a total of EUR 9577 leading to a profit of EUR 1465 and 925 for the robotic-assisted and open myofascial release, respectively. In addition, 30-day re-admission rate was in favor of the robotic-assisted approach as well (6.3% vs 20%). From an economic point of view, robotic-assisted TAR for complex ventral hernia repair is a viable option in our setting. Higher procedure-related costs are offset by a significant shorter hospital stay. The economic advantage goes along with improvement in outcome of patients.

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Correspondence to Bernhard Dauser.

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Bernhard Dauser, Nikolaus Hartig, Mariam Vedadinejad, Elisabeth Kirchner, Florian Trummer, and Friedrich Herbst declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Dauser, B., Hartig, N., Vedadinejad, M. et al. Robotic-assisted repair of complex ventral hernia: can it pay off?. J Robotic Surg 15, 45–52 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11701-020-01078-3

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Keywords

  • Robotic-assisted
  • Ventral hernia repair
  • Costs