Uterine Fibroid Embolization Most Cost-Effective Treatment

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Cost effectiveness may change the way physicians treat uterine fibroids. The newest procedure, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) offers financial advantages over hysterectomy or myomectomy for insurers, hospitals, and the health-care system.

Cost effectiveness may change the way physicians treat uterine fibroids. The newest procedure, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) offers financial advantages over hysterectomy or myomectomy for insurers, hospitals, and the health-care system.

"UFE is becoming an increasingly popular procedure," Anne Bussard, MD, told a standing room-only crowd at the second session of presented papers yesterday afternoon. "More than 60,000 procedures have been performed to date. We wanted to know just how cost effective it is for our institution."

Dr. Bussard and her team examined retrospective data from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, for uterine fibroids treated between 2000 and 2002. Costs and reimbursements were collected from the hospital decision support database for 299 women who underwent hysterectomy, 105 who underwent myomectomy, and 136 who underwent UFE.

The total hospital cost for UFE was $2,707, significantly less than the cost for hysterectomy ($5,707) or myomectomy ($5,676). Net income to the hospital for the three procedures was also dramatically different: a net of $57 per patient for UFE compared to a loss of $572 for each hysterectomy, and a loss of $715 for every myomectomy. Professional reimbursement fees were $1,306 for UFE, $979 for hysterectomy, and $1,078 for myomectomy.

One reason for the positive UFE result is the nature of the procedure. It is an ambulatory procedure, with just one patient admitted overnight during the 3 years of the study.

"UFE saves money for the hospital and just about everyone else in the health-care system," Dr. Bussard said. "The only losers are the gynecologist who loses a $1,000 surgery fee every time a woman chooses UFE over hysterectomy or myomectomy.

Bussard A, Goldberg J, McNeil J, Diamond J. Cost and reimbursement for three fibroid treatments: hysterectomy, myomectomy, and uterine fibroid embolization. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;105(4 suppl):7S.

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