Robot-Assisted Surgery for Kidney Cancer Increased Access to a Procedure that Can Reduce Mortality and Renal Failure

Chandra, Snider, Wu, Goldman, and colleagues used kidney cancer as a useful case study for evaluating the long-term value of robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery. Kidney cancer is generally treated through partial or radical nephrectomy, with evidence favoring the former procedure for appropriate patients. The researchers found that robot-assisted surgery increased access to partial nephrectomy and that partial nephrectomy reduced mortality and renal failure. The value of the benefits of robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery to patients, in terms of quality-adjusted life-years gained, outweighed the health care and surgical costs to patients and payers by a ratio of 5 to 1. In addition, they found no evidence that the availability of robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery increased the likelihood that inappropriate patients received partial nephrectomy.

The full study is available at Health Affairs. A press release is available here.