Robots manufactured for specialized medical applications are known as medical robots. These robots can perform various medical tasks such as surgery, medical test, and patient monitoring. Medical robots can carry out a surgery solely based on the pre-surgical planning by the surgeon. Medical robots allow for high accuracy in open surgery and minimally invasive surgery, just the same. Medical robots also reduces the time of surgery to a great extent. Medical robots can also be used for transporting patients from one location to another in a hospital.
Advancements in technology have enabled surgeon to remotely operate robots and perform surgery. Surgeons can perform a surgical procedure in emergency situations through telesurgery, with the aid of an imaging device.
Advancements in technology in the recent past have been directed towards reducing costs of products. This has led to increasing applications of these robots for various tasks. Robotic technique in healthcare was first used in 1985, though it was only in 2000 that da Vinci robot received FDA approval for carrying out surgical procedures. The da Vinci robot is widely known for its applications such as for cardiac surgery, head and neck surgery, urologic surgery. As per stats released by Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI), as of 2014, one in four hospitals in the U.S. deployed da Vinci robot. Furthermore, 570,000 procedures were performed in the U.S. by the robot in 2014, a phenomenal rise of 178% as compared to 2009.
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Continuous advancement in medical robots is expected to fuel the growth of medical robots market in the near future:
The innovation and product development in medical robotics is continuously increasing due to increased R&D in this field. For instance, in 2014 Intuitive Surgical Inc. launched its new da Vinci X robot and received FDA approval for it on May 30, 2017. The advanced da Vinci robot is equipped with four mechanical arms for better movement, reach and dexterity also helps to perform surgical procedure more precisely than before. Each of the arms can be controlled independently and can be assigned to do different tasks.
As the medical robots are associated with high cost and thus, their adoption rate is high and mainly restricted to North America, followed by Europe. As per ECRI, out of all da Vinci installation around the globe, 67% installation are in the U.S. and out of all da Vinci surgical procedures, 79% are performed only in the U.S. Owing to their high costs, these robots are gaining slow adoption in cost sensitive economies of Asia Pacific. However, the scenario is expected to improve in the near future, buoyed by rampant economic growth in emerging economies of India and China and the rising investment on healthcare infrastructure development in these countries.
The growth of medical robots market is supported by factors such as increase in awareness about their various highly beneficial properties and increase in the number of surgical procedures as a result of increasing incidence of chronic diseases such as cancer and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, increase in insurance coverage is expected to fuel the usage of medical robots industry. Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey are characterized by an acute dearth of healthcare professionals. As per Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Turkey had 1.7 doctors per 1,000 population in 2012. This makes the region a highly lucrative prospect for future penetration of the market.
High purchase and maintenance cost of the equipment and lack of trained surgeons to perform robotic surgery are some of the major restraining factors for the global medical robots market.
Some major players in medical robots market include Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Stryker Corporation, Mazor Robotics Ltd, Hansen Medical Inc., Hocoma AG, Omnicell, Inc., Kirby Lester LLC, Accuray Incorporated, Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc. and Engineering Services Inc.
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