We wanted to determine the direct cost of hysterectomies by surgical approach and to estimate the impact on costs if more vaginal hysterectomies were substituted for abdominal hysterectomies for women under 50 years of age. Eleven Ontario (Canada) hospitals provided 1994 cost data based on 1376 hysterectomies. These data were applied to all hysterectomies performed in the province for women under 50 to estimate the cost of subtotal, vaginal (VH), or laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) relative to total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH). We determined the change in costs if TAHs in Ontario in 1994-1995 had been substituted by VH or LAVH. Teaching and community hospitals were considered separately. VH was less costly than TAH, subtotal, or LAVH. The direct cost for TAH at teaching hospitals was much higher than at community hospitals. Costs relative to TAH were higher for LAVH at community but not at teaching hospitals. From the population baseline rate of 25% VH, 5% LAVH, 10% subtotal, and 60% TAH, we estimated that increasing VH to 45% would lower costs by 2.4%; increasing LAVH to 25% would increase costs by 4.4%. VH is associated with lower costs than TAH or LAVH. However, the magnitude of the substitution and the extent of cost savings should ultimately be based on evaluation of patient outcomes.
Health care costs