Surgeons say procedures offer better recoveries, less painful
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/09/2012 -- UMass Memorial Medical Center is showing off its robotic surgical tools to remind the public of the hospital’s high-tech assets.
The center recently hosted a public display of its da Vinci surgical system at the Memorial Campus hospital.
“Sometimes, people just don’t know,” Dr. Antonella Restivo Leary, the center’s robotics program director, told the Telegram & Gazette.
Although the robotic system at UMass Memorial is almost seven years old, the hospital is touting its assets in an effort to attract patients and improve profits.
It’s easier for hospitals to add patients than to cut costs, said Robert E. Mechanic, an expert on health care reform and senior fellow at Brandeis University. “Historically it’s been easier to generate more revenue than to reduce costs,” Mechanic said.
Robotic surgical devices generally do not make procedures cheaper. A da Vinci system can run over $1 million, and one report found that using a robotic device increased the cost of surgery. A laparoscopic hysterectomy for endometrial cancer carried an average cost of $8,996, but a robotic hysterectomy averaged $10,618, according to a Columbia University study reported in the March edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Surgeons at UMass Memorial say that robotic procedures involve less pain and shorter recoveries than traditional operations.
“My robot cases will go home the day after surgery,” said Dr. Michael Flynn, chief of urogynecology at UMass Memorial.
But the robot-surgeons also have critics. Former Obama administration health policy adviser Ezekiel J. Emanuel called the systems “pseudo-innovation.” And some studies have found little benefit for the higher costs of robotic procedures.
But Dr. Brian M. Clark, UMass Memorial’s chief of reproductive endocrinology, said robotic procedures are often better than traditional, open surgeries that involve weeks of recovery. There’s also an economic factor. “If you don’t do it, your competitors will,” he said.
LaparoscopyHospital.com (http://www.laparoscopyhospital.com) is an online resource offering information about laparoscopic training and treatment. Readers can learn more about the da Vinci machine and courses in minimally invasive surgery along with Robotic Surgery Training. People can find out more about the World Laparoscopy Hospital and its training at Laparoscopy Training.
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