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Study Examines Impact of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Health plan spending lower for three procedures; fewer days of absenteeism for four types

THURSDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- For specific types of surgery, minimally invasive procedures correlate with significantly lower health plan spending and fewer days of absence from work, compared with standard surgery, according to a study published online March 20 in JAMA Surgery.

Andrew J. Epstein, Ph.D., from the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional regression analysis using data from national health insurance claims and matched workplace absenteeism data to examine the correlation between standard versus minimally invasive surgery and health plan spending and absenteeism for six types of surgery (coronary revascularization, uterine fibroid resection, prostatectomy, peripheral revascularization, carotid revascularization, and aortic aneurysm repair).

The researchers found that, after adjustment, for coronary revascularization, uterine fibroid resection, and peripheral revascularization, mean health plan spending was lower with minimally invasive surgery, while mean health plan spending was higher for minimally invasive prostatectomy and carotid revascularization. Minimally invasive surgery correlated with missing significantly fewer days of work for four types of surgery (coronary revascularization, uterine fibroid resection, prostatectomy, and peripheral revascularization).

"Although the effect size depends critically on the clinical setting, the net impact of minimally invasive surgery across the six types of surgery studied was to lower both health care spending and worker absenteeism," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to GlaxoSmithKline.

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