Cost effectiveness of robotic mitral valve surgery
Significant technological advances have led to an impressive evolution in mitral valve surgery over the last two decades, allowing surgeons to safely perform less invasive operations through the right chest. Most new technology comes with an increased upfront cost that must be measured against postoperative savings and other advantages such as decreased perioperative complications, faster recovery, and earlier return to preoperative level of functioning. The Da Vinci robot is an example of such a technology, combining the significant benefits of minimally invasive surgery with a “gold standard” valve repair. Although some have reported that robotic surgery is associated with increased overall costs, there is literature suggesting that efficient perioperative care and shorter lengths of stay can offset the increased capital and intraoperative expenses. While data on current cost is important to consider, one must also take into account future potential value resulting from technological advancement when evaluating cost-effectiveness. Future refinements that will facilitate more effective surgery, coupled with declining cost of technology will further increase the value of robotic surgery compared to traditional approaches.