Public Release: 

Study shows short & long-term cost-savings associated with minimally invasive surgery

Patients who underwent laparoscopic colon resections spent less time in the hospital, less on overall health care than open surgery patients

University Hospitals Case Medical Center

CLEVELAND - Adding to the clinical benefits and improved patient outcomes associated with minimally invasive surgery, Medtronic highlighted a study published in the March 25 online edition of JAMA Surgery. The new study demonstrated that patients who underwent laparoscopic colectomy procedures required fewer days of health care utilization and the health care system spent less on their acute and follow-up care than those who underwent traditional open surgery.

"We found that the use of minimally invasive laparoscopic approaches in a select group of patients undergoing colectomy procedures resulted in significantly lower health care costs and resource utilization compared with open surgical approaches. This may expand access and lower the cost of patient care in the long term," said lead author Conor P. Delaney, MD PhD, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. "These results reflect the well-documented benefits of laparoscopic surgery, which include faster recovery, less pain and fewer complications."

A colectomy is the surgical removal of part or all of the colon and the rectum and is usually performed to treat several digestive health conditions, including diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and cancer of the colon and rectum.

The study found that laparoscopic colectomy procedures - which utilize three or four small incisions instead of one large one - resulted in $6,689 lower costs to payers, with open surgery totaling $29,753 compared to $23,064 for the laparoscopic approach. Overall health care expenditures in the three months after open colectomy were $8,272 and rose to $21,598 after a year, compared to $4,176 and $11,719, respectively for patients who underwent laparoscopic procedures. That equates to a difference of $4,096 after three months and $9,879 after the first year. In the first year after their procedures, the open surgery patients were hospitalized 2.12 times more and spent 1.13 times more on medicines than patients in the laparoscopy group.

"With significantly fewer days required for health care utilization in the laparoscopic group, patients are less likely to miss days of work, further strengthening the economic benefit of these procedures which have long been associated with better patient outcomes than open surgery," said Michael Tarnoff, MD, chief medical officer, Covidien Group at Medtronic. "In support of optimizing patient care costs and efficiencies, we continue to offer innovative and less invasive, more successful procedures for earlier diagnosis, better treatment and faster, complication-free recovery."

Researchers conducted a retrospective multivariate regression analysis of national health insurance claims utilizing data obtained from the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database. The study measured three main outcomes: health care utilization, including office, hospital outpatient, and emergency department visits and inpatient services 90 days and one year after the procedure; health care expenditures; and estimated patient days off from work. The study population was comprised of 4,160 patients aged 18 to 64 years old who underwent elective laparoscopic (45.6%) or open colectomy (54.4%) from January through December 2010.

Clinical benefits of laparoscopic colectomy, including but not limited to decreased complications, mortality and rates of readmission have been demonstrated in multiple studies.

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About University Hospitals

University Hospitals, the second largest employer in Northeast Ohio with 25,000 employees, serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 15 hospitals, 29 outpatient health centers and primary care physician offices in 15 counties. At the core of our $3.5 billion health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center, ranked among America's 50 best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in all 12 methodology-ranked specialties. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, UH Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopaedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and genetics. Its main campus includes UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. For more information, go to http://www.uhhospitals.org

About Medtronic

Medtronic plc , headquartered in Dublin, is the global leader in medical technology - alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world. Any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in Medtronic's periodic reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.

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