Robots Could Be Performing a Third of U.S. Surgeries by 2021

Watch the da Vinci Surgical System in action.

8. 3. 16 by Andy Palma
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Image by Getty Images

Robot Use in Hospitals Grows

Lately, robots are being used by hospitals to perform a multitude of tasks  from delivering medicine to patients, to working alongside surgeons and assisting them in complex and delicate procedures. Because of their precision and inability to feel weariness that may cause muscle tremors, robots are perfect assistants to surgeons in carrying out such meticulous jobs in the operating room. 

As robotic surgery continues to grow, experts predict that, within the period of five years, robots will dominate the operating rooms in the United States. In fact, they could be conducting one of every three surgeries.

Intuitive Surgical Inc., the leading robotics market for surgical applications, is the manufacturer of the da Vinci Surgical System, the first telerobotic system that was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 for human use. Check out its ability to surgically stitch a grape, as shown below.


Paying the Price

As you could imagine, these robots don’t come cheap. A single robot costs approximately $ 1.5 million. Despite its high cost (and not to mention, the ongoing maintenance expenses), most top U.S. hospitals have invested in a da Vinci Surgical System.

But there are cheaper choices out there. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Alphabet Inc. have partnered to form Verb Surgical Inc. to come up with smaller and cheaper robotic-assisted systems for surgery.

Gary Pruden, global chairman of J&J’s medical devices group, says, “our goal is to have a lower-cost product, with the smallest footprint, with greater capability, that helps to raise the standard of care.”

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