Injuries, Costs Slowing Sales of da Vinci Surgical RobotAug 15, 2013
As injuries and complications linked to the da Vinci Surgical Robot grow, revenue for Intuitive Surgical Inc., the maker of the device, have stalled in the past year, increasing by 8 percent versus the double-digit increases the company’s been enjoying since its early stages, according to Trefis.com.
Intuitive Surgical's flagship product is the da Vinci surgical robot. Even though uses of the surgical robot have increased since it was first introduced to the U.S. market, and more surgeries overall are being performed with the device, Intuitive Surgical is finding itself increasingly defending its safety and benefits.
The company recently received a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the agency conducted a series of inspections of Intuitive Surgical's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters. The inspections revealed that Intuitive Surgical sent out updates on the use of the da Vinci surgical robot, mostly prompted by complaints and complications that had resulted from using the robotic device. Intuitive Surgical failed to warn the public of these corrections to the da Vinci surgical robot as well as the serious injuries that have resulted from the situations that prompted the updates.
We've reported on injuries that are commonly associated with the use of the da Vinci surgical robot. Burns and tears of the intestines, punctured blood vessels, bowel injuries, and excessive bleeding have all been reported following procedures using the da Vinci surgical robot.
Trefis.com also notes a recent study from Columbia University that investigated the claim that performing a hysterectomy using the da Vinci Surgical Robot was more cost-effective for hospitals and patients than a traditional surgery. The study found that using the da Vinci is "not particularly favorable" from a cost-benefit perspective, which will likely cause fewer of these procedures to be done with the surgical robot device.