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World J Surg. 1999 Apr;23(4):415-21.

Cost-effective minimally invasive surgery: What procedures make sense?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Virginia Mason Medical Center, 1100 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98111, USA.


Because laparoscopic surgery has emerged during a time of medical cost-consciousness, emphasis has been placed on the economic implications of this emerging field. The cost of these procedures, however, is just one component in determining their overall value to most of the stakeholders in the health care system. The value of a treatment is proportional to its appropriateness and quality per unit cost. Several confounding factors affect the variables in this equation and contribute to the difficulty in this type of assessment of an emerging technology. By understanding the mechanics of value assessment and certain caveats for specific procedures, the surgeon will be better able to determine what procedures makes sense (or are of value) in their practice and for their patients.

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