The influential American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is warning women that despite an aggressive marketing campaign to promote pricey robotic surgery for hysterectomies, that approach may not be the best choice available for patients.
Citing a recent JAMA study that found robotic hysterectomies cost more but aren’t really better, ACOG president, James T. Breeden, MD, in a statement said it’s “important to separate the hype from reality” when considering this type of robotic surgery.
Here’s the full ACOG statement:
Many women today are hearing about the claimed advantages of robotic surgery for hysterectomy, thanks to widespread marketing and advertising. Robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy. Nor is it the most cost-efficient. It is important to separate the marketing hype from the reality when considering the best surgical approach for hysterectomies.
The outcome of any surgery is directly associated with the surgeon’s skill. Highly skilled surgeons attain expertise through years of training and experience. Studies show there is a learning curve with new surgical technologies, during which there is an increased complication rate. Expertise with robotic hysterectomy is limited and varies widely among both hospitals and surgeons. 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. Continue reading