Costs of minimally invasive laser surgery compared with transurethral electrocautery resection of the prostate.


We reviewed hospital charges for patients undergoing uncomplicated endoscopic surgical resection for symptomatic bladder outlet obstruction due to benign prostatic hyperplasia over a 1-year period at a single institution. Of 115 patients, 67 underwent transurethral electrocautery resection of the prostate, and 48 underwent endoscopic neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser ablation of the prostate under direct vision. Analysis showed a cost differential between these 2 surgical treatments in excess of $2,000, favoring laser prostatectomy (P < .0001) over transurethral electrocautery resection. The single greatest difference between the treatments was the ability to manage all patients receiving laser treatment as outpatients, whereas the mean and median hospital stay after transurethral electrocautery resection was 3.0 days. Taking additional cost variables into account and decreasing the cost of laser delivery systems would further increase this cost differential in favor of laser therapy. The diminished postoperative morbidity associated with laser treatment also promises lower total costs over the long term.

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