Robo Diss

It turns out that robots aren’t all that great for healthcare yet.   A recent MSN article highlights this:

  • “While there may be some advantages to the use of robotics in complex hysterectomies, especially for cancer operations that require extensive surgery and removal of lymph nodes, studies have shown that adding this expensive technology for routine surgical care does not improve patient outcomes. Consequently, there is no good data proving that robotic hysterectomy is even as good as — let alone better — than existing, and far less costly, minimally invasive alternatives,”  Dr. James Breeden, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), said in a statement released.
  • He noted that robotic hysterectomy is the most expensive method, with a price of more than $1.7 million per robot, $125,000 in annual maintenance costs, and up to $2,000 per surgery for the cost of single-use surgical instruments.
  • One recent study found that the percentage of hysterectomies performed robotically rose from less than 0.5 percent to nearly 10 percent over the past three years. Another study of more than 264,000 hysterectomy patients found that robotic surgery added an average of $2,000 per procedure without any proven benefit, Breeden said.
  • “If most women undergoing hysterectomy for benign conditions each year chose a vaginal or laparoscopic procedure — rather than TAH or robotic hysterectomy — performed by skilled and experienced surgeons, pain and recovery times would be reduced while providing dramatic savings to our health care system. Conversely, an estimated $960 million to $1.9 billion will be added to the health care system if robotic surgery is used for all hysterectomies each year,” Breeden said.

This may be true but how are hospitals going to outdo their competition without such cool toys as surgical robots?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  2 comments for “Robo Diss

  1. Dave Hoffman
    March 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    My wife is an OB-GYN who really likes the DaVinci – especially for obese patients. The key is choosing the appropriate procedure for the patient, not trying to be flashy and pay off expensive equipment.

  2. Kurt
    March 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Perhaps slam ’em for TAH’s but in the “deep dark hole” of a total prostatectomy, I’ve seen it shorten the recovery time and pain
    dramatically. Hell, I’ve seen one guy get out in a day! Yeah, had a catheter but sure beat the 10 days of hell of hosptialization from an open prostatectomy of 25 years ago.

    Try banging on lasers for back surgery. Mayo’s says no better than
    conventional small incision back surgery but I’ve seen some patients
    swear by it. Of course they had to pay out of pocket to a for-profit clinic to get it.

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