Objectives To compare the cost effectiveness of laparoscopic versus open colposuspension for the treatment of female urinary stress incontinence.
Design Cost utility analysis alongside a randomised controlled trial.
Setting Six gynaecological surgical centres within the UK.
Population/Sample Women with proven stress urinary incontinence requiring surgery.
Methods Open abdominal retropubic colposuspension or laparoscopic colposuspension carried out by experienced surgeons.
Main outcome measures Cost, measured in pounds sterling and generic health-related quality of life, measured using the EQ-5D. The latter was used to estimate patient-specific quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).
Results Healthcare resource use over 6-month follow up translated into costs of £1805 for the laparoscopic arm and £1433 for the open arm (differential mean cost £372; 95% credibility interval [CrI]: 274–471). At 6 months, QALYs were slightly higher in the laparoscopic arm relative to the open arm (0.005; 95% CrI: −0.012 to 0.023). Therefore, the cost of each extra QALY in the laparoscopic group (the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER]) was £74,400 at 6 months. At 24 months, the laparoscopic arm again had a higher mean QALY score compared to the open surgery group. Thus, assuming that beyond 6 months the laparoscopic colposuspension would not lead to any significant additional costs compared with open colposuspension, the ICER was reduced to £9300 at 24 months. Extensive sensitivity analyses were carried out to test assumptions made in the base case scenario.
Conclusions Laparoscopic colposuspension is not cost effective when compared with open colposuspension during the first 6 months following surgery, but it may be cost effective over 24 months.