If you have recently had kidney or prostate surgery, you may have been offered the option of a robotic surgery, rather than one performed by a surgeon using his hands. You may have wondered which was the better option: and chances are your doctor was able to offer you little guidance beyond his own preferences.
Now, new research has shown that those surgical patients (for kidney or prostate surgery) who have robot-assisted surgery instead of traditional surgery have shorter average hospital stays. These patients also have a lower risk of death, and a lower risk of needing a blood transfusion. The one downside: robot-assisted surgeries come with a larger bill.
The Journal of Urology published the new research. The study looked at a federal-government database and analyzed the type of surgery and the outcome. By the end of the study period, over half of prostate surgeries were robot-assisted.
The study found that robot-assisted surgery, often called laparoscopic or “keyhold” surgery, was tied to better patient outcomes. In these surgeries, two small incisions are made, and tools and a tiny video camera are inserted. Thus, instead of the surgeon’s hands, the surgery is performed by mechanical arms and high-precision tools, which the surgeon operates using a console and control panel.
The difference in outcomes was not trivial. For prostate removal surgery, two of every 1,000 patients do not survive the procedure when open, “traditional” surgery is used. By contrast, there was not a single death during the study period for those patients who underwent a robot-assisted prostate removal. Likewise, 5 percent of open-prostate-surgery patients received a blood transfusion, while less than 2 percent of robot-assisted prostate removals required a transfusion. Open-surgery patients also had hospital stays averaging one day more than robot-assisted patients. These results were similar for kidney-removal operations.
Robot-assisted surgeries, however, cost between $1,100 and $1,300 more than open surgery.
This cost should really not be a factor, however, when the better, safer results are considered. Indeed, based on the almost-nonexistent risk of death in a robot-assisted surgery, it may constitute medical malpractice not to offer a patient the option of a robot-assisted surgery.
If you recently underwent prostate- or kidney-removal surgery, were not offered the option of a robot-assisted surgery, and suffered a negative outcome, you may be the victim of medical malpractice. Talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you to determine whether you have a legal claim, and whether to pursue it.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.