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Robotic surgery concerns

While the da Vinci's success story continues (according to Intuitive, they've reached 90% penetration in LRP in the USA), and even the President played around with it, many people expressed their concerns about the economic and patient benefits.
Primary concern is the price of the device, where not even the initial 0.75-2 M USD is really a hit, but the maintenance and tool costs.

NY Times featured an article some time ago, citing the JAMA study (previously criticized here) to emphasis the lack of clinical benefits. (Medgadget also covered the story.)

A recent publication in the Journal of Urology found that despite the popularity of robot-assisted procedures for prostate cancer, when it comes to men's long-term quality of life, patients with earlier stage cancers generally fare better with non-surgical approaches than with surgery.

Others questioned the use of the robot with heart procedures (Are Robotics a Good Idea for Cardiac Surgeons? by Chad Sumulong), while they admit, trends lead towards robotic surgery.
ConsultantLive wrote about the surgery-versus-chemoradiotherapy debate surrounding the evidences whether robotic surgery offers oncologic outcomes comparable to chemoradiation. Interestingly, they cite the same article that was written by the group who pushed the whole procedure through the FDA. Other studies are in favor of the robotic head-and-neck procedures.
After all, the numbers clearly show the success of the marketing and Intuitive, leaving the throne of the da Vinci unthreatened.

Update: Patient complications not the fault of robot, says WDH surgeon
- Study Finds Robotics Not Always Best For Hysterectomy Success And Recovery
- Endometriosis? Robotic surgery may not be the answer


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