A team from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, conducted an economic evaluation of laparoscopic versus open groin hernia repair.
The primary economic evaluation framework employed was a cost-utility analysis.
At 26 hospitals in the UK and Ireland, 928 patients with a groin hernia were assigned randomly to laparoscopic or open repair.
Cost data were identified and measured both within and outwith the trial.
Cost data were then combined with quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) from the EQ-5D questionnaire to obtain cost-per-QALY ratios.
The researchers found that the mean cost of laparoscopic hernia repair was £1,113, compared with £789 for the open operation.
|Mean cost per hernia repair:|
|British Journal of Surgery|
The extra cost of £323.85 in the laparoscopic group was mainly due to additional theatre time and increased equipment and sterilization costs.
The estimated incremental cost per QALY of the laparoscopic over the open method was £55,548.00.
The authors commented that the results show that a high cost was incurred to produce an additional QALY by using laparoscopic over open hernia repair.
However, sensitivity analyses show that there are specific situations in which laparoscopic repair may be a viable alternative, such as when reusable equipment is employed, they concluded.