Is robotic surgery worth the cost?


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4 comments

  1. Andy Smith

    Great overview! Very balanced and objective.

    I especially agree with Dr. Forster’s comments re provincial data. Any special funding for robotic surgery should be tied to accountability on submitting and collating specific data to advance the field in Ontario.

  2. Diya

    This looks very futuristic,but I’m not sure the positive benefits make up for the expense the government or hospitals have to use to make these robots

    • Gerald Goldlist

      If government does not feel something is not FISCALLY worthwhile to govt then shouldn’t patients have the choice to pay for their own care if the patient feels it is fiscally worthwhile to patient?

  3. Nicholas Leyland, MD, Professor and Chair of OB/GYN, McMaster University

    The use of robotic surgery for many surgical indications is a very complex issue. Ultimately, the added value to the system and improvement in patient outcomes must determine whether we can afford to move further in this direction.
    Robotic surgery is certainly “sexy” and high tech, characteristics that are driving the purchase and the use of robots in the USA even in the absence of scientific support. (Donors love this.) Hospitals south of the border must have robotic options or risk the loss of market share in their competitive environment.
    Here in Canada, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to establish the role of any new technology on the basis of high quality, unbiased scientific evidence for positive patient outcomes and cost effectiveness.
    (We cannot lose sight of the value of robotic surgery to the surgeons in reducing the learning curve for less invasive surgery and the provision of ergonomically better options for the doctors.)
    Lastly, conventional laparoscopic surgery can and should be continued to be learned and performed. Surgeons risk the loss of or the failure to develop these skills in many training programs and community hospitals using robots in the USA.
    At the end of the day we ought to approach any new and developing technology with scientific rigor and a healthy, albeit open-minded skepticism.

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