Cost analysis of transanal endoscopic microsurgery for rectal tumours

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Abstract

Objective

Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) is considered to be a safe and effective treatment for selected rectal neoplasms. We demonstrate that in addition to the recognized clinical benefits of the less invasive TEM approach, there are substantial economic benefits.

Method

We reviewed our prospective database of patients undergoing TEM excision of a rectal lesion between July 1997 and December 2003. A cost analysis was undertaken, including procedural and related costs of TEM and compared with the relevant open procedures.

Results

124 patients (80 men, 44 women) with a median age of 71.5 years underwent TEM excision of rectal lesions (52 cancers and 72 adenomas). The morbidity rate was 8% and mortality was zero. A controlled case series of 52 patients undergoing open resection for early rectal cancers with similar characteristics as above was compared in terms of clinical outcome. The morbidity rate in these patients was 29.5%. The cost analysis comparison was undertaken using National Health Service mean reference costs for major large intestinal surgery, Intensive care unit/high dependency unit and hospital accommodation for each procedure. The average cost of open resection was £4135, vs£567 for TEM excision. Our total saving over the series was £525 576. Although the initial capital cost of the TEM equipment is high at approximately £40 000 given the massive cost savings, these initial equipment costs are recovered within a rapid time frame.

Conclusion

This study has shown that TEM is a safe and extremely cost-effective approach for excision of selected rectal tumours including rectal adenomas and early well differentiated rectal cancers (pTis & pT1).

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