Example of robotic arms used for surgery.
The U.S. has seen widespread adoption of robot-assisted prostate removal surgery as a method to treat prostate cancer, according to a BJU International study. While these surgeries were originally more expensive than traditional operations and contributed to the 40% increase in annual prostate cancer surgery spending, robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) surgeries costs decreased and stayed at just over $10,000—while non-RARP costs increased to almost $9,000 by the study’s completion.
Robotic technology was first used to remove the prostate in 2001. The study analyzed 489,369 men who had a non-RARP or RARP in the U.S. from 2003-2010. RARP adoption, which is defined as executing over 50% of annual radical prostatectomies using the robotic approach, increased from 0.7% to 42% among surgeons. Surgeons who regularly performed radical prostatectomies, at least 25 per year, were more likely to adopt RARP. Additionally from 2005 to 2007, surgeons at teaching hospitals and intermediate/large-size hospitals were more likely to adopt RARP. More information regarding the study can be found here.