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Letter: Medicine will look more at costs

A doctor waits during surgery at Johns Hopkins

A doctor waits during surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. (June 26, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

The article "High cost of robotic surgeries" [News, Feb. 20] highlights many of the issues raised by Dr. Jason Wright's study of 264,758 women who underwent hysterectomies, showing no added benefit of the robotic approach over traditional laparoscopy for benign diseases.

This study reinforces the position of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, published in January. There was no difference other than the robotic procedure being substantially more expensive.

Since robotic gynecologic surgery became available in 2005, the number of hysterectomies performed using a minimally invasive technique has increased by more than 30 percent, and most of these were performed robotically.

Wright's study is an important and timely contribution to medical literature, considering that it is necessary to examine not only patient outcomes and the quality of treatments, but also the costs of the spectacular medical technologies now available to patients.

The passage and impending implementation of the Affordable Care Act will require physicians, hospital administrators and all stakeholders to take an active role in performing such analyses.

Dr. Michael L. Nimaroff, Manhasset

Editor's note: The writer is the chief of gynecology for North Shore University Hospital.