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28.11.2018 | 2018 SAGES Oral

Regional cost analysis for laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Surgical Endoscopy
Elizabeth M. Pontarelli, Gary G. Grinberg, Richard S. Isaacs, James P. Morris, Olakunle Ajayi, Pandu R. Yenumula



Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common procedure performed by general surgeons in the United States, with approximately 600,000 procedures performed annually. As the cost of care rises, there is increasing emphasis on utilization and quality. Our objective was to evaluate the cost of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in our health system and to compare the operative times and outcomes at high- and low-cost centers.


We evaluated all laparoscopic cholecystectomies performed in our system over a 1-year period. The operating room supply costs and procedure durations were obtained for each of the hospitals. The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program outcomes and demographics were compared to the costs for each hospital.


During the study period, 7601 laparoscopic cholecystectomies were performed at 20 hospitals (170–759/hospital) by 227 surgeons. The average cost per case ranged from $296 at the lowest cost center to $658 at the highest cost center. The average operative time varied between sites from 46 to 95 min. There was no association between cost and operative time or case volume. There was a slight trend toward increased cost with higher number of emergency procedures, but this was not well correlated (R2 = 0.03). The patient demographics and comorbidities were similar between sites. There were no significant differences in postoperative complications between high- and low-cost centers. The items with the greatest increase in cost were disposable trocars, disposable hook cautery, disposable endoscissors, and disposable clip appliers. We estimate that a savings of over $300/case is possible by using reusable instruments, which would result in an annual savings of $1.3 million for our health system, and $285 million nationwide.


Performing laparoscopic cholecystectomy with reusable instruments can significantly decrease costs and does not increase operative time or postoperative complications.

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