The global robot-assisted surgical systems market is buzzing with activity as a consequence of the shift in patient preferences from inpatient medicine to outpatient medicine and from invasive procedures to less invasive ones. According to leading data and analytics company GlobalData, the market for general surgery, excluding accessory instruments, was valued at USD 778.5 million in 2017, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.5 percent over the next seven years. 

Intuitive Surgical was the first company to launch robot-assisted surgery system in 2000. As a first mover in this area, the company now leads the robotic surgery category with the da Vinci product line. 

Vinie Varkey, Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The dynamic growth of the robotic surgery market is attributed to a number of reasons. Several companies are working on and planning to launch their own prototype products within the next one to two years. They are bound to pose significant competition to the da Vinci systems, both in terms of pricing and functional capabilities.”

Reportedly, companies such as Medtronic and Titan Medical are close to launching their own products in a bid to enter the lucrative market of robot-assisted surgical systems. 

Currently, the da Vinci systems are used in multiple disciplines, including urology, gynaecology, thoracic surgery and transoral surgery. With the launch of other platforms, the scope of procedures performed with these systems is expected to broaden into other surgical areas, including orthopedics and neurosurgery. 

In the future, when a larger volume of surgical procedures is expected to be performed with the aid of robotic surgical systems, GlobalData anticipates that the use of these systems will help to save costs by reducing the time associated with patients’ postoperative hospital stays. 

However, the primary limitation of the current robotic systems is their acquisition cost. In addition, surgical procedures carried out using robotic systems are reimbursed at the same rate as those procedures carried out via the open or laparoscopic access. 

Varkey concludes: “This has an effect on the uptake of these instruments in hospitals. If the reimbursement value is less than what is required for hospitals to cover the cost of these systems, it is likely to deter the use of these systems in a hospital environment. 

“As competitors begin to enter the market, the costs associated with these systems are expected to go down and healthcare providers will have more options to choose from. As new products are launched in the market, GlobalData expects that the technology will mature, and these products will become more common in hospitals and outpatient settings.”   -  Global Data

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