Research Article|Articles in Press

Cost-effectiveness analysis of robotic cholecystectomy in the treatment of benign gallbladder disease

Published:March 11, 2023DOI:



      Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the current standard of care treatment for benign gallbladder disease. Robotic cholecystectomy is another approach for performing cholecystectomy that offers a surgeon better dexterity and visualization. However, robotic cholecystectomy may increase cost without sufficient evidence to suggest an improvement in clinical outcomes. The purpose of this study was to construct a decision tree model to compare cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic cholecystectomy and robotic cholecystectomy.


      Complication rates and effectiveness associated with robotic cholecystectomy and laparoscopic cholecystectomy over a 1-year time frame were compared using a decision tree model populated with data from the published literature. Cost was calculated using Medicare data. Effectiveness was represented by quality-adjusted life-years. The primary outcome of the study was incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, which compares the cost per quality-adjusted life-year of the 2 interventions. The willingness-to-pay threshold was set at $100,000/quality-adjusted life-year. Results were confirmed with 1-way, 2-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses varying branch-point probabilities.


      The studies used in our analysis included 3,498 patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy, 1,833 patients who underwent robotic cholecystectomy, and 392 patients who required conversion to open cholecystectomy. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy produced 0.9722 quality-adjusted life-years, costing $9,370.06. Robotic cholecystectomy produced an additional 0.0017 quality-adjusted life-years at an additional $3,013.64. These results equate to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $1,795,735.21/quality-adjusted life-year. This exceeds the willingness-to-pay threshold, making laparoscopic cholecystectomy the more cost-effective strategy. Sensitivity analyses did not alter results.


      Traditional laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the more cost-effective treatment modality for benign gallbladder disease. At present, robotic cholecystectomy is not able to improve clinical outcomes enough to justify its added cost.
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