A Robotic Revolution, Step By Step
In the sometimes bi-polar world of surgical robotics, visions of a radically transformed battle with entrenched resistance to the new technology. And for now, the conservative forces have been winning. But officials at Intuitive Surgical Inc., which went public last June, argue that the tide is turning. And even some skeptics concede that Intuitive has done better than anyone thought they would just a few years ago.
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Robotic technology in orthopedics has been around for years, but with less than striking success. Now Praxim, a French surgical navigation technology company, believes it has solved the technical problems and has an "intelligent instrument" system that surgeons will be eager to adopt. Praxim argues that as OR technology advances, linking imaging, navigation, and computer-assisted intelligent instrumentation, robotic systems will represent not an adjunct technology play, but rather the centerpiece of an orthopedics offering.
Tired of fighting each other in court, the two leading robotics companies have decided to render their IP differences moot through a merger.
Several relatively new companies are making inroads into a new market for bypass assurance with devices that help cardiovascular surgeons intra-operatively assess the patency of each anastomosis. Cardiovascular surgeons historically have been resistant to adjunctive surgical innovations designed to help them do their jobs better. These companies, however, are betting that the difficulty posed by new beating heart coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures will motivate surgeons to slowly but steadily adopt their minimally invasive tools.