Robotics Surgery Market to Bring a Disruption in the Conventional Laparoscopic Procedures, U.S. to Emerge as a Lucrative Business Avenue

February 19, 2018


The parade of scientific breakthroughs and technological advancements has been relentless in the medical space. Robotics surgery market, through still at its infancy, is already taking the surgical sector by storm, especially in areas inaccessible to traditional laparoscopic procedures. Until few years back, the race to incorporate this groundbreaking technology has been a subject of contention among the healthcare investors. However, researches and surveys of recent times have collected enough evidence to certify that surgical robots market is set to bring a disruption in the entire surgical armamentarium business space.

In this regard, recently the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) has published a study comparing the outcomes of laparoscopic vs robot assisted surgeries, depicting the penetration of the technology in the United States:

  • Researchers of Stanford University Medical Center and University of Ulsan College of Medicine examined the utilization of surgical robots in radical nephrography in U.S. compared to in-hospital laparoscopic procedures. Reportedly, the survey was all inclusive of 23,753 patients who had undergone any of the two aforementioned procedures spanning from Jan 2003 to September 2015, across 416 hospitals. The result depicted that robot assisted surgery has upscaled from 1.5% to 27% over 2003-2015. Also, it has been affirmed by the scientists that unlike laparoscopic radical nephrectomy, surgical robot assisted kidney removal is not associated with increased risk of postoperative complications. Not to mention, the data also bears testimony to the commercialization potential of U.S. robotics surgery industry in the coming years.

Development of robotics surgery market

While robotics surgery market is relatively young field, it has evolved with extreme rapidity over the last decade. Somewhat toward the end of 19th century, a group of neurosurgeons first used surgical robots, which they dubbed as Puma 560, while performing biopsies. Other breakthroughs in the surgical robot’s industry space happened shortly thereafter. A few years later, in 1988, the same system was deployed for performing the first robot assisted transurethral prostate resection. Another breakthrough product that fetched much of an attention back then was ROBODOC, designed to be used for hip replacement surgery. Brainstormed by the Sacramento based surgical robots market giant, Integrated Surgical Supplies, the device, for the records, was the first of its kind to receive an approval from FDA. Since then the business space has traversed a profitable road map and today has established its stance in the healthcare fraternity. As per estimates, nearly 1.75 million robot-assisted surgical procedures were performed in the United States over the past decade and half.

Robotics surgery market has effectively addressed the profound limitations of conventional laparoscopic surgical procedures, ensuring smooth completion of complicated surgeries with increased precision, that too with minimally invasive approach. In contrast to the uncooperative position that is compulsory for laparoscopic operations, the surgeon in robot assisted surgery sits comfortably on a robotic control console, that claimed to reduce the doctor’s physical exertion. Another factor that has played its cards in proliferating the surgical robots industry trends is the enhanced efficiency and precision of these devices. Instead of flat two-dimensional image obtained through regular laparoscopic camera, in robotics surgery, the 3D image received by the doctor enhances the depth perception. In addition, the camera motion is also controlled by an operating surgeon via manual master control or voice activated controls. All in all, with significant improvement in precision and dexterity, robotics technology allows surgeons to perform surgeries that were conventionally not acceptable in minimal access techniques, thereby impelling robotics surgery market.

Economic impact of robotics surgery market

Perhaps the major hinderance to robotics surgery market is the cost associated with the procedure. For the records, a single robot assisted surgical system cost around USD 2 million, with an annual service contract requiring almost USD 100,000 to USD 170,000 (in addition to the initial cost). The figurers are indicative of the fact that robotics surgery is way more expensive than traditional open or laparoscopic operations. Despite these facts, the economic impact of surgical robots industry is claimed to be quite positive considering the complimentary factors. While it is indisputable that robotic procedures cost humongous, it also helps with decreased length of hospital stay on account of its minimally invasive approach. The hospital cost thereupon is almost halved when compared to procedures that are presently performed in open or laparoscopic surgeries.

As per analysts’ opinion, the underlining reason that lurks behind the higher cost of robotic surgeries is longer operating time. However, with more and more surgeons becoming comfortable and proficient in robotic techniques, the issue of time is soon to resolve. According to a recent robotics surgery market assessment survey, the cost factor can also be addressed by upscaling the number of robot assisted surgeries performed, given the universal factor that higher utilization ensures cost effectiveness.

Surgical robots market, since its inception, has been envisioned to extend the competences of surgeons beyond the limitation of laparoscopic procedures. The benefits of minimal invasive surgeries have been proven and the safety issue is well established, with many series of cases reported to have favorable outcomes. In spite of that, a wave of reluctance has been observed across various nations with regards to its adoption. Experts believe, the issues of technical drawbacks, clinical effectiveness and cost need to be resolved soon to make robotics surgery market mainstream, even in normal surgeries. Nonetheless, with groundbreaking technologies like haptics, virtual reality, and telementoring coming on stream, the overall business space is on its way to create a new benchmark of advanced surgical skills that were not even being perceived for so long.