Robotic Versus Manual Total Knee Arthroplasty in High Volume Surgeons: A Comparison of Cost and Quality Metrics

Published:December 21, 2021DOI:



      Robotic-assisted total knee arthroplasty (RTKA) was introduced to improve surgical accuracy and patient outcomes. However, RTKA may also increase operating time and add cost to TKA. This study sought to compare the differences in cost and quality measures between manual TKA (MTKA) and RTKA


      All MTKAs and RTKAs performed between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019, by 6 high volume surgeons in each cohort, were retrospectively reviewed. Cohorts were propensity score matched. Operative time, length of stay (LOS), total direct cost, 90-day complications, utilization of postacute services, and 30-day readmissions were studied.


      After one-to-one matching, 2392 MTKAs and 2392 RTKAs were studied. In-room/out-of-room operating time was longer for RTKA (139 minutes) than for MTKA (107 minutes) P < .0001, as was procedure time (RTKA 78 minutes; MTKA 70 minutes), P < .0001. Median LOS was equal for MTKA and RTKA (33 hours). Total cost per case was greater for RTKA ($11,615) than MTKA ($8674), P < .0001. Home health care was utilized more frequently after RTKA (38%) than MTKA (29%), P < .0001. There was no significant difference in 90-day complication rates. Thirty-day readmissions occurred more often after MTKA (4.9%) than RTKA (1.2%), P < .0001.


      RTKA was a longer and costlier procedure than MTKA for experienced surgeons, without clinically significant differences in LOS or complications. Home health care was utilized more often after RTKA, but fewer readmissions occurred after RTKA. Longer term follow-up and functional outcome studies are required to determine if the greater cost of RTKA is offset by lower revision rates and/or improved functional results.


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