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da Vinci Surgical System

by   -   May 14, 2013

UPDATED 5-14-2013: Scroll to bottom of article to see updates.

One of robotics’ biggest stars, Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), and their da Vinci robotic surgical systems, is receiving a lot of unfavorable media attention – including a 4-part “exposé” by MSNBC – because:

  1. A month-long suit alleging injuries tied to the robot surgery used in a 2008 procedure to remove a patient’s prostrate claims that the surgeon was not adequately trained.
  2. A recent JAMA article showed that although the number of robotically assisted hysterectomy procedures is up, their effectiveness is the same as laparoscopic methods but their costs are about $2,000 higher per procedure.
  3. The FDA recently initiated a probe asking surgeons at numerous hospitals to identify complications with the da Vinci machines.
  4. Intuitive sends note to customers about a scissor instrument known as Hot Shears saying the instrument could develop small, invisible cracks, which can potentially cause a leak of electricity that can burn patients.
by   -   March 5, 2013

On February 1st of this year, Catherine Mohr, Director of Medical Research and chief spokesperson for Intuitive Surgical (ISRG:NASDAQ), gave a talk on the campus of CMU. (Video of talk and Q&A).

I watched the video wherein Mohr pointed out that most of the new robotic-assisted surgical procedures, including those provided by her company’s da Vinci Surgical System, are simply improved versions of surgeries that have long been done through open or laparoscopic access — and that’s not disruptive.

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November 15, 2013

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