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Ann Surg. Dec 1997; 226(6): 668–676.
PMCID: PMC1191136

Cost-effectiveness of extraperitoneal laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair: a randomized comparison with conventional herniorrhaphy. Coala trial group.


OBJECTIVE: To determine the cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair seems superior to open techniques with respect to short-term results. An issue yet to be studied in depth remains the cost-effectiveness of the procedure. As part of a multicenter randomized study in which >1000 patients were included, a cost-effectiveness analysis from a societal point of view was performed. METHODS: After informed consent, all resource costs, both in and outside the hospital, for patients between August 1994 and July 1995 were recorded prospectively. Actual costs were calculated in a standardized fashion according to international guidelines. The main measures used for the evaluation of inguinal hernia repair were the number of averted recurrences and quality of life measured with the Short Form 36 questionnaire. RESULTS: Resource costs were recorded for 273 patients, 139 in the open and 134 in the laparoscopic group. Both groups were comparable at baseline. Average total hospital costs were Dfl 1384.91 (standard deviation: Dfl 440.15) for the open repair group and Dfl 2417.24 (standard deviation: Dfl 577.10) for laparoscopic repair, including a disposable kit of Dfl 676. Societal costs, including costs for days of sick leave, were lower for the laparoscopic repair and offset the hospital costs by Dfl 780.83 (75.6%), leaving the laparoscopic repair Dfl 251.50 more expensive (Dfl 4665 versus Dfl 4916.50). At present, the recurrence rate is 2.6% lower after laparoscopic repair. Thus, 38 laparoscopic repairs, costing an additional Dfl 9,557, prevent the occurrence of one recurrent hernia. Quality of life was better after laparoscopic repair. CONCLUSION: A better quality of life in the recovery period and the possibility of replacing parts of the disposable kit with reusable instruments may result in the laparoscopic repair becoming dominantly better--that is, less expensive and more effective from a societal perspective.

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Selected References

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