Intuitive Surgical is a company which develops and manufactures surgical robots, and is the global leader. These however aren’t the fully automated robots that you may be thinking of.
Intuitive’s robotic system – the da Vinci Surgical System - provides assistance to surgeons during surgery, but doesn’t completely replace them. Robotic-assisted surgery helps to make surgical procedures more precise and less invasive. Complex procedures such as heart valve and cancer surgery can be made through 1 cm to 2 cm incisions. This leads to better patient outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs.
In 2018, da Vinci Systems assisted with over one million surgeries. The company estimates there are five million applicable surgeries related to gynaecologic, urologic, cardiothoracic and head/ neck operations which their system could be used for, and that’s just in existing countries where it sells products.
With such an attractive market opportunity, price competition from new competitors is likely to increase. How hospitals weigh the value proposition of Intuitive’s proven technology vs lower priced competing solutions remains to be seen.