Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) is associated with fewer complications and shorter hospital stays compared with open radical prostatectomy (ORP), but total hospitalization costs are approximately $2,500 higher on average for RARP patients, according to a new study.

The study examined total hospitalization costs for both surgical approaches using data from a population-based cohort of 29,837 prostate cancer patients who underwent either RARP (20,424 patients) or ORP (9,413 patients). Compared with ORP patients, RARP patients were significantly less likely to experience postoperative complications (8.2% vs. 11.3%) and they had a significantly shorter stay in the hospital (1 vs. 2 days). After adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics, the median hospitalization costs were was significantly higher for the RARP compared with ORP ($11,932 vs. $9,390), the investigators, led by Simon P. Kim, MD, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, reported online ahead of print in European Urology.

The researchers said a plausible reason that may explain the higher hospitalization costs for RARP compared with ORP is that hospitals may be billing more to recoup the upfront cost of purchasing the robot and annual maintenance associated with it.

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“These results have important implications regarding the rapid adoption of RARP in the face of higher costs and greater emphasis on CER [comparative effectiveness research] to demonstrate improved outcomes and health care value for patients and urologists,” the authors concluded.