To perform a cost-effectiveness analysis of staple-line reinforcement in laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
Exponential increases in surgical costs have underscored the critical need for evidence-based methods to determine the relative value of surgical devices. One such device is staple-line reinforcement, thought to decrease bleeding rates in laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
Two intervention arms were modeled, staple-line reinforcement and standard nonreinforced stapling. Bleed and leak rates and 30-day treatment costs were obtained from national and state registries. Quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) values were drawn from previous literature. Device prices were drawn from institutional data. A final incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was calculated, and one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed.
A total of 346,530 patient records from 2012 to 2018 were included. Complication rates for the reinforced and standard cohorts were 0.05% for major bleed in both cohorts (P = 0.8841); 0.45% compared with 0.59% for minor bleed (P < 0.0001); and 0.24% compared with 0.26% for leak (P = 0.4812). Median cost for a major bleed was $5552 ($3287, $16,817) and $2406 ($1861, $3484) for a minor bleed. Median leak cost was $9897 ($4589, $21,619) and median cost for patients who did not experience a bleed, leak, or other serious complication was $1908 ($1712, $2739). Mean incremental cost of reinforced stapling compared with standard was $819.60/surgery. Net QALY gain with reinforced stapling compared with standard was 0.00002. The resultant incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $40,553,000/QALY. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses failed to produce a value below $150,000/QALY.
Compared with standard stapling, reinforced stapling reduces minor postoperative bleeding but not major bleeding or leaks and is not cost-effective if routinely used in laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

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