Nationwide variation in outcomes and cost of laparoscopic procedures

Ciara R. Huntington, Tiffany C. Cox, Laurel J. Blair, Tanushree Prasad, Amy E. Lincourt, B. Todd Heniford, Vedra A. Augenstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Introduction: Healthcare systems and surgeons are under increasing pressure to provide high-quality care for the lowest possible cost. This study utilizes national data to examine the outcomes and costs of common laparoscopic procedures based on hospital type and location. Methods: The National Inpatient Sample was queried from 2008 to 2011 for five laparoscopic procedures: colectomy (LC), inguinal hernia repair, ventral hernia repair (LVHR), Nissen fundoplication (NF), and cholecystectomy (LCh). Outcomes, including complication rate and inpatient mortality, were stratified by region and hospital type. Both univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed using regression-based survey methods; risk-adjusted mean costs for hospital were calculated after adjusting for patient characteristics. Results: In univariate analysis, the rates of minor complications varied significantly between geographic regions for LCh, LC, NF, and LVHR (p < 0.05). Though LCh and LVHR had statistical variation between regions for rates of major complications (p < 0.05), all regions were equivalent in rates of inpatient mortality for the procedures (p > 0.05). Rural and urban centers had similar rates of complications (p > 0.05), except for higher rates of major complications following IHR and LC in rural centers (p < 0.02) and following Nissen fundoplication in urban facilities(p < 0.0003). Though urban centers were more expensive for all procedures (p < 0.0001), mortality was similar between groups (p > 0.05). For hospital ownership, private investor-owned facilities were substantially more expensive (p < 0.0001), but had no significant differences in complications compared to other hospital types (p > 0.05). In multivariate analysis, while patient factors helped explain differences between outcome differences in different hospital types and locations, in general, the difference in cost remained statistically significant between hospitals. Conclusion: Though patient demographics and characteristics accounted for some differences in postoperative outcomes after common laparoscopic procedures, higher cost of care was not associated with better outcomes or more complex patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-946
Number of pages13
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost
  • Hospitals
  • Laparoscopy
  • National Inpatient Sample (NIS)
  • Outcomes
  • Regional variation


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