Tremendous advances are being made in the field of medicine, especially when it comes to surgery, with the help of robotics. Using various combinations of cutting-edge technology, physicians are now able to perform surgeries that are far less invasive than operations using traditional methods.
One surgical robotics company has presented itself as a leader in the field. Intuitive Surgical, based out of Sunnyvale, California, presented the “Da Vinci” method of surgery in 1999. Despite the fact a single robot carries the controversial price tag of $2 million, the Silicon Valley company reported a nearly 17 percent rise in da Vinci procedures worldwide over the past year, and a 41 percent rise in quarterly profit.
Another, though slightly younger, company that is also contributing to the advancement of surgical robotics is Medtech. Medtech will be showcasing its newest robotics system, “ROSA,” at the 84thAmerican Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Meeting in Chicago which runs from April 30th to May 4th. ROSA was developed to assist with spinal procedures in particular. Based out of Montpellier, Medtech received the “European Company of the Year Award” in the “robotic neurosurgery” category from Frost & Sullivan.
Despite all of these advancements, doctors say it is unlikely robots will ever completely replace human surgeons. Robotics are being used more and more as tools and aids to increase the precision of surgeries, but nobody is yet suggesting that they will be anything more than that in the foreseeable future.
It is also important to recognize robotics-assisted surgery is still not a perfect science. The danger of side effects and complications including death is present in every surgery and robotics surgery is not an exception. An analysis of more than 10,000 FDA incident reports between 2000 and 2013 turned up 144 cases in which the patient died during robot-assisted robotic surgery, and another 1,391 cases in which the patient was injured.