Contemporary Pure Laparoscopic italic toggle="yes">vs Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy: Is the Transition Worth It?

Kenneth G. Sands, Robert S. Figenshau, Joel Vetter, Alethea Paradis, Andrew Pierce, Eric H. Kim, Kefu Du, Alexander Chow, Ramakrishna Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: The proportion of robotic procedures continues to rise. The literature reinforces that robotic procedures take longer and are often more costly. We compared cost and perioperative outcomes of laparoscopic radical nephrectomy (LRN) and robot-assisted radical nephrectomy (RARN) at our high-volume center. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our 2012-2015 data repository for patients undergoing RARN and LRN for a renal mass. Perioperative and oncologic outcomes were compared. We performed a multivariate analysis of operative time, estimated blood loss, length of stay (LOS), and overall and major 90-day complication rates while controlling for demographic data, Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), tumor size, and surgeon factors. We compared fixed, variable, and distinct procedural costs. Results: We identified 99 LRN and 95 RARN cases. There was no difference in demographic data, tumor size, preoperative renal function, and malignant histology. LRN patients had more comorbidities (49.5% vs 27.3% CCI 2+, p = 0.018). The mean preoperative glomerular filtration rate was higher in the robotic cohort (84.8 vs 75.1, p = 0.48). Mean operative time was 32.7 minutes longer (p = 0.002) and estimated blood loss 145 mL higher (p = 0.007) for the RARN cohort. There was no difference in mean LOS. Major and all 90-day complication rates were no different. The mean procedural cost for RARN was higher by $464 when controlling for operative time (p < 0.001). Fixed costs were not statistically different. Variable costs for RARN were estimated to be $2,310 higher (p = 0.045). Conclusions: Even with cost-conscious, experienced renal surgeons, RARN is associated with a longer procedure, higher supply costs, and higher hospitalization costs. There was no difference in positive surgical margin and complications. There were fewer 30-day readmissions for the RARN cohort, which may represent under-recognized cost savings. With fewer LRN cases in the United States each year, discussion to address cost is warranted. Without better outcomes for robotic surgery, a change in reimbursement to cover costs is unlikely to happen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1526-1532
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endourology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • cost
  • laparoscopic nephrectomy
  • outcomes
  • renal cell carcinoma
  • robotic nephrectomy


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