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Doctors defend use of surgery robots amid study questioning their cost
Doctors defend use of surgery robots amid study questioning their cost
February 24, 2013
A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association has some local surgeons defending their use of expensive robots for medical procedures.
In a time of spiraling medical costs, some local doctors and proponents of the robot worry that the Columbia University study's findings will lead to less support for advanced medical technologies that can improve patient recovery times and outcomes.
The study from researchers at Columbia University says the robots may not be worth the money, at least when it comes to hysterectomies versus the same procedure done laparascopically and without a robot.
"The robot is a surgical tool. I don't do every surgery with a pair of scissors. That is another tool," said Dr. Farid Gharagozloo, chief of cardiothoracic robotic surgery at the University of Arizona Medical Center. "So you shouldn't do every surgery with a robot. The robot is just part of a good surgery program.
"With all the changes in health care coming, there will be no question you can't use things that are too expensive. (But) there are definitely places where robotics could be useful," added Gharagozloo, who is a board member of the Society of Robotic Surgery and an internationally recognized expert in robotics.....read more
The Da Vinci Surgical Robot and Beyond
Catherine Mohr: The Da Vinci Surgical Robot and Beyond
February 22, 2013
Humans have been doing surgery for 10,000 years, and for most of that time, undergoing a procedure was an immensely painful, high-risk endeavor. But with the rise of advanced techniques in the last 150 years, modern surgery has become sterile, anesthetized, and often minimally invasive. So how has surgery improved more recently? Robots, of course. Robotic surgical tools are not only already here, they’ve been on the surgical scene for over a decade.
Catherine Mohr, Director of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical, brought a da Vinci robotic surgical system to this year’s FutureMed. Catherine speaks with Singularity University's "Singularity Hub" about the future of robotic surgery and gives a tour of the machine.
Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robotic surgical system was first introduced in 1999. Since then, surgeons have used the system to perform tens of thousands of surgeries in almost 2,000 hospitals worldwide. Intuitive Surgical is a publicly traded, consistently growing stock on Nasdaq. And a further testament to their success, the firm has made robotic surgery so commonplace it’s almost boring (until you see a da Vinci up close, that is).
Originally used primarily in prostatectomies, surgeons now use da Vinci in a wide number of operations, from removing tumors to heart surgeries performed without breaking the ribs. But these robotic procedures are largely old news (amazing as that is to hear). So, what’s next for robotic surgery? For that longer version of the future Mohr references in our interview, check out this lecture she gave recently at Carnegie Mellon........continue reading
Report Calls Usefulness of Robotic Surgery Into Question
February 21, 2013
If you are a woman and you have the choice between a doctor removing your uterus with her own hands, or having a robot perform the procedure that allows for more precise movements during the procedure, which would you choose?
Over the years, more and more woman have been choosing the robotic option -- specifically, the daVinci Robotic System designed and manufactured by Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:( ISRG ). That helps explain why shares of the company's stock have risen more than 6,000% in the past decade.
But a recent report appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association is calling into question the effectiveness of robotic surgery in the case of hysterectomies.
Click here to see what this could mean for Intuitive......
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) Falls as Costs and Benefits of Robot Surgery Questioned
February 20, 2013
Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISRG) is seeing early pressure following the results of a study that found that a hysterectomy cost thousands more with the company's robot surgical device versus standard less-invasive surgery. The robot survey also didn't prove to reduce complications.
Based on a study of 264,758 women who underwent hysterectomy for benign gynecologic disorders at 441 hospitals across the United States from 2007 to 2010, robotic operations cost hospitals $2,189 more per procedure, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Use of robotically-assisted hysterectomy increased from 0.5% in 2007 to 9.5% of all hysterectomies in 2010, the report showed.....read more
Robot-assisted hysterectomies on the rise
February 19, 2013
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The proportion of women having their uterus removed using robotic-assisted surgery increased from one in 200 procedures in 2007 to almost one in 10 in 2010, according to a new study.
However, the tool didn't reduce complications linked to hysterectomy or otherwise improve women's outlook after surgery, researchers found. And it raised the cost of the procedure by almost one-third.
"This is clearly in some ways a waste of resources," said Joel Weissman from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who co-wrote an editorial published with the study.
"It's a waste because there are equally good options and one is just more expensive than the other," he told Reuters Health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the U.S.
Researchers led by Dr. Jason Wright from Columbia University in New York analyzed records from more than 260,000 women who had the procedure because of endometriosis, bleeding or fibroids between 2007 and 2010.....read more
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Sherwood High students practice robotic surgery at Legacy Meridian Park
February 14, 2013
TUALATIN -- For 28 Sherwood High School seniors swathed in green scrubs, class was a little different last week.
Instead of furiously scribbling notes in the confines of their desks, students hovered over a fake patient, using a surgical robot to fix various ailments of the throat, heart and other organs.
In the operating room at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, students played a real-life version of the classic board game "Operation." The visit was part of the hospital's partnership with local school districts in which medically inclined students perform mock virtual and orthopedic surgeries using robots. It's the first year the hospital has offered Robot Academy, said Legacy spokeswoman Alisa Cour.
Kari Turner, who teaches the health occupations class at Sherwood, was happy her kids were the guinea pigs. The class is for seniors interested in a career in the health fields, anything from nursing to surgery.......continue reading
Can Blue Belt Technologies revive robotic surgery in orthopedics?
February 12, 2013
Robotic surgery remains a topic of high interest in medtech. The first surgical robot to gain notoriety, the da Vinci, was designed for urogynecological procedures and has enjoyed rapid adoption since its release, despite the fact that its clinical merits remain debatable. Since then, companies have worked to apply robotic surgery to other applications, such as orthopedics and most recently, percutaneous coronary interventions.
In orthopedics, MAKO Surgical was the first company to make real headway in this space, initially enjoying rapid uptake of its robotic systems for use in unicondylar knee replacements (the procedure was dubbed “MAKOplasty’). For awhile, MAKO Surgical was looking like the star of the orthopedics world.
In 2012 though, this company struggled mightily. MAKO’s system, the RIO Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System, is very expensive, and therefore only achieved notable adoption among larger facilities able to absorb the expense—this has become a particular concern with the health care reform currently in the works. Additionally, MAKO’s system can only be used with the company’s own RESTORIS implant, which has a higher selling price than many other implants currently available. And maybe most significantly, the cost savings that MAKOplasty was supposed to offer have yet to be realized. Overall, MAKO Surgical’s shares dropped from about $40 at the beginning of 2012 to about $11 today.....read more
February 18 - 19, 2013
CRSA & CVU Clinical Robotic Surgery Association & Clinical Virtual UniversityPresent
Posted on AARS: February 14, 2013
Live Streaming Surgery
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HeartWare Presentation at Leerink Swann Global Healthcare Conference to be Webcast
February 8, 2013
HeartWare International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HTWR - ASX: HIN), a leading innovator of less invasive, miniaturized circulatory support technologies that are revolutionizing the treatment of advanced heart failure, today announced that CEO Doug Godshall is scheduled to present at the Leerink Swann Global Healthcare Conference at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. The conference is being held February 13-14 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
Public Unaware of Dangers of da Vinci Robotic Surgery
February 6, 2013
Hailed as the latest breakthrough in virtually scarless, minimally invasive surgery, da Vinci robotic surgery devices were adapted from systems used in war torn areas and manufactured by Wall Street darling Intuitive Surgical, Inc. They have been made available to the general public over the last decade, but the very high risk of deaths and adverse events, almost 5,000 to date according to the MAUDE database (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) kept by the FDA, are largely unknown by the general public, who continue to undergo these very costly procedures without full knowledge of the risks involved.
"There's never been a study showing clinical superiority," says Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "For the patient, there's clearly no difference."
Citron Research has been compiling huge amounts of data on several lawsuits pending and detailing all cases of adverse outcomes in the FDA records to make investors aware of potential trouble ahead for Intuitive Surgical.
In a damning two-part report, the research firm describes how the company targets doctors who perform high volume procedures like hysterectomies and prostatectomies in order to maximize profits. For many patients, the outcome is loss of life or severe injury. Approximately two to five deaths involving da Vinci robotic devices are reported each month. The most horrific cases include a patient who's intestines were hanging out of her vagina; another was uncontrollably passing urine out of her vagina, and a prostatectomy patient who urinated out of his rectum and defecated out of his penis. The surgeon, Christopher Kopp, MD, said in his operative report that the robot malfunctioned several times. When he and the technicians couldn't get it working properly, he decided to convert to an open procedure.....read more
FDA Clears Sculptor Robotic Guidance Arm™ for Unicompartmental Knee Replacement Surgery
February 5, 2013
Stanmore Implants ('Stanmore'), specialists in the design and manufacture of patient specific and modular orthopaedic implants, announced today that it has received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its Sculptor Robotic Guidance Arm™ ("Sculptor RGA™") for precision implant placement in unicompartmental knee surgery, also known as partial knee resurfacing.
Stanmore's unique personalised procedural approach to surgery seamlessly integrates advanced technologies. From proprietary planning software, personalised implants are designed in-house, then manufactured and placed precisely. During surgery, bone is removed corresponding to the implant shape whilst a tracking arm determines and monitors the location of the patient ensuring that the surgeon accurately prepares the bone surface to match the implant precisely.
The Sculptor RGA™ will be introduced in the United States for unicompartmental knee surgery in a limited release to a select group of surgeons from mid-2013, as Stanmore continues its evidence based approach to new product introduction.
The Company is also developing additional applications for Sculptor RGA™ with the goal of broader commercialisation next year......Click Here for complete Press Release
Wexner Medical Center teaches others robotic surgery methods
February 3, 2013
Ohio State’s Center for Advanced Robotic Surgery has been guiding and training other hospitals in the country to help them expand into the robotic surgery world.
Dr. Jeffrey Fowler, the co-director of the Center of Advanced Robotic Surgery, said OSU physicians perform roughly 1,500 robotic surgeries per year and lead the field with an experienced robotic surgical staff.
“Other hospitals have been sending their surgical teams to shadow and see what we do here,” Fowler said. “They (other surgical teams) spend time with our educational nurses and technicians … (practicing) on dummies as far as setting up the robot and positioning patients on the operating room table.”
Although gynecologic oncology is the most common robotic surgery procedure done at the Wexner Medical Center, it also specializes in benign gynecology, gastrointestinal oncology, urology, cardiac, thoracic and general surgeries with the da Vinci robot.
The comprehensive robotics program offered at OSU “is a multidisciplinary program,” and Fowler said the goal after starting it five or six years ago was for it to be more comprehensive....read complete story
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