ACOG cautions against robotic hysterectomy



In a statement directed to the general public about robotic surgery, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) cautioned, “It is important to separate the marketing hype from the reality when considering the best surgical approach for hysterectomies.” 

The remarks, made by ACOG President James T. Breeden, MD, were part of a news release issued by the ACOG Office of Communications on March 14, 2013.

“Many women today are hearing about the claimed advantages of robotic surgery for hysterectomy, thanks to widespread marketing and advertising,” noted the release. “Robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy. Nor is it the most cost-efficient.”

ACOG further noted that the outcome of any surgery is directly associated with the surgeon’s skill and that there are no reliable data proving that robotic surgery is any more effective than (or even as effective as) conventional surgery.

Robotic hysterectomy, the College noted, is the most expensive of all methods, “[a]t 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 instruments.”

The news release states that vaginal hysterectomy is the least invasive and least expensive option for women facing the procedure and the technique of choice “whenever technically feasible.” When vaginal hysterectomy is not feasible, it continues, “laparoscopic hysterectomy is the second least invasive and costly option for patients.”

“Patients should be advised that robotic hysterectomy is best used for unusual and complex clinical conditions in which improved outcomes over standard minimally invasive approaches have been demonstrated,” the statement concludes. 

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Statement on robotic surgery by ACOG president James T. Breeden, MD. Published March 14, 2013. Accessed March 18, 2013.


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