JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Economic evaluation of laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer

Robyn M de Verteuil, Rodolfo A Hernández, Luke Vale
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 2007, 23 (4): 464-72
17937835

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic surgery compared with open surgery for the treatment of colorectal cancer.

METHODS: A Markov model was developed to model cost-effectiveness over 25 years. Data on the clinical effectiveness of laparoscopic and open surgery for colorectal cancer were obtained from a systematic review of the literature. Data on costs came from a systematic review of economic evaluations and from published sources. The outcomes of the model were presented as the incremental cost per life-year gained and using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves to illustrate the likelihood that a treatment was cost-effective at various threshold values for society's willingness to pay for an additional life-year.

RESULTS: Laparoscopic surgery was on average pounds 300 more costly and slightly less effective than open surgery and had a 30 percent chance of being cost-effective if society is willing to pay pounds 30,000 for a life-year. One interpretation of the available data suggests equal survival and disease-free survival. Making this assumption, laparoscopic surgery had a greater chance of being considered cost-effective. Presenting the results as incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) made no difference to the results, as utility data were poor. Evidence suggests short-term benefits after laparoscopic repair. This benefit would have to be at least 0.01 of a QALY for laparoscopic surgery to be considered cost-effective.

CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic surgery is likely to be associated with short-term quality of life benefits, similar long-term outcomes, and an additional pounds 300 per patient. A judgment is required as to whether the short-term benefits are worth this extra cost.

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