Intuitive Surgical Dominates Robotic Surgery
Based in Sunnyvale, California, trailblazing company Intuitive Surgical has become the principal innovator in minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery. Founded in 1995, they have released several groundbreaking creations, most notably the da Vinci system.
The da Vinci system is a surgical system that enhances a surgeon’s experience by allowing the surgeon to command instruments through a console that respond to hand movements. These instruments provide the surgeon with a greater range of motion and the ability to make smaller and safer incisions.
Intuitive Surgical is a rapidly growing company, experiencing 17 percent growth on their fourth-quarter revenue in 2018 as well as raising 2 billion dollars in February via stock repurchases. While they are currently expanding in terms of monetary value, recent FDA clearance of different technologies indicates even more significant growth in the future.
In March, the da Vinci SP device was cleared for radical tonsillectomy and transoral tongue base resection procedures, adding to the list of approved surgical operations that already included urological procedures and those requiring very narrow access via a single small incision.
Just a month earlier, another groundbreaking invention by Intuitive also received FDA clearance. Using the new Ion system, physicians can operate a flexible robotic catheter to reach nodules in any airway segment in the lung. The system is also equipped with a limber biopsy needle that can maneuver through tight bends to collect tissue in the peripheral lung. The Ion was designed to be compatible with existing lung nodule biopsy workflows and imaging technology, which should permit integration into operation rooms as soon as possible.
This improved method of accessing the depths of the lungs will hopefully lead to earlier lung cancer diagnoses, which would help minimize one of the world’s leading causes of cancer deaths. As Intuitive Surgical continues to develop, the use of robots for minimally invasive procedures shows promise of revolutionizing healthcare.
Written by Derek Chiang, Edited by Gib Versfeld & Alexander Fleiss