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Market Overview


K.A. Gerardino talks about how the integration of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine is transforming surgical procedures, transcending human limitations, and improving patient outcomes.


Imagine a world where surgeries are performed with such precision that human limitations are transcended, and patient outcomes are dramatically improved. This vision is becoming a reality through the advancements in medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine. This multi-disciplinary field aims to enhance surgical procedures by providing comprehensive information to surgeons and utilizing that information to improve patient outcomes.

It encompasses medical robotics, which involves the use of robotic devices like endoscopic cameras to perform minimally invasive procedures, and computer-integrated surgery (CIS), which employs systems that use directed energy to destroy tumors and other malformations within a patient's body without traditional surgery. Additionally, computer-integrated interventional medicine (CIIM) integrates imaging, intervention, and informatics to enhance physicians’ ability to plan and execute clinical procedures. By improving safety, consistency, and the overall quality of interventions, this field is poised to revolutionize clinical practice.

The journey of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine began in the mid-1980s, with initial efforts focusing on stereotactic brain surgery, orthopedics, endoscopic surgery, and microsurgery. The 1990s marked a period of expansion, with the introduction of commercially marketed systems and the growth of a dedicated research community. The 2000s saw the integration of imaging, intervention, and informatics to further improve patient care. Today, medical robotics is utilized for a wide range of surgical and medical procedures, with ongoing research continuously enhancing its capabilities.

Robotic surgery is one of the most prominent applications of computer-integrated interventions. It involves the use of robotic systems to assist surgeons in performing complex procedures with greater precision, flexibility, and control than is possible with conventional techniques.

Medical Robotic Systems
The global market for medical robotic systems is experiencing robust growth. Estimates from Mordor Intelligence suggest that the market size will increase from US$13.32 billion in 2024 to US$28.14 billion by 2029, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.13%. Another source forecasts growth from US$12.76 billion in 2023 to US$14.9 billion in 2024, reflecting a CAGR of 16.8%. This growth trend underscores the transformative impact of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine on healthcare.

Simultaneously, computer-integrated interventional medicine is rapidly evolving, leveraging advanced technologies to enhance medical procedures. This field encompasses robotic devices and computer-controlled systems that enable precise and minimally invasive interventions. Technological advancements, increasing demand for minimally invasive surgeries, and rising chronic disease prevalence are driving market expansion. Significant investments in research and development, coupled with a focus on improving patient outcomes, highlight the promising growth potential in this segment.

The evolution of robotics in medical procedures has been remarkable. Since the first robotic-assisted surgery nearly 40 years ago, the market has grown to an estimated US$18 billion and is projected to reach US$83 billion by 2032. Intuitive Surgical reports that its da Vinci systems alone have performed 12 million procedures, demonstrating the widespread adoption and benefits of surgical robotics.

Beyond these achievements lies untapped potential. Surgical robotics offer patients less invasive procedures for quicker recovery, enable surgeons to operate with precision while reducing physical strain, and provide hospitals with cost savings through shorter stays and reduced readmissions. As a result, more healthcare systems and physicians are embracing surgical robotics. A recent Bain study found that 78% of U.S. surgeons are interested in adopting surgical robotics, highlighting growing adoption even in established areas like hip and knee replacements, where opportunities for expansion remain.

Looking ahead, growth opportunities will be driven by innovations addressing current market gaps. Companies are focusing on new disease states, specialties, and second-generation solutions that build upon existing technologies. Future advancements are expected to integrate artificial intelligence (AI), innovative materials in robotic construction, smaller footprint robotic systems, and advancements in virtual environments like the Metaverse for surgical procedures.

Regional Outlook
The global medical robotics market is geographically segmented into Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East & Africa. North America leads the market, driven by the widespread adoption of robot-assisted surgical instruments, a significant increase in hip and knee surgeries, and the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases. The region's market growth is further supported by the increasing efficiency of medical robots in performing various tasks, especially surgeries among the elderly population, and the rising incidence of trauma injuries.

In Asia Pacific, the medical robotics market is set to maintain substantial growth, fueled by the expansion of healthcare facilities and increased investments from both public and private sectors. Countries such as Japan, India, and China are at the forefront of medical robotics development in the region. This growth is driven by factors such as a large population, growing awareness and adoption of new technologies, and escalating funding for medical robotics research. Additionally, the rising presence of skilled professionals dedicated to equipment monitoring in Asia Pacific is bolstering the market.

Competitive Landscape
The global medical robotics market is a dynamic and competitive arena, where innovation and technological advancement are key. Leading companies are revolutionizing healthcare by developing sophisticated robotic systems that enhance surgical precision, improve patient outcomes, and streamline medical procedures. Intuitive Surgical, for example, is a pioneer with its da Vinci Surgical System, which has transformed minimally invasive surgery. Stryker Corporation is at the forefront of orthopedic surgical robots, offering groundbreaking solutions for joint replacements. Medtronic’s Mazor X platform is making significant strides in spinal surgery, providing surgeons with advanced tools for precise interventions.

Zimmer Biomet, with its ROSA Knee System, is enhancing the accuracy of knee replacement surgeries, while Johnson & Johnson is pushing the boundaries of robotic-assisted surgery with its Ottava platform. These companies are not just competing; they are driving the evolution of medical robotics through relentless research and development, strategic collaborations, and a deep commitment to advancing patient care. Their efforts are setting new standards in the medical field, promising a future where surgical procedures are safer, more efficient, and less invasive.

Recent Developments in Medical Robotics
Recent developments in medical robotics have propelled the field into an era of unprecedented innovation and application across healthcare. Advancements in technology have transformed surgical practices, enabling precise, minimally invasive procedures that enhance patient outcomes and recovery times. From robotic-assisted surgeries that reduce human error and fatigue to integrated systems that utilize artificial intelligence for real-time decision-making, these developments are reshaping the landscape of modern medicine. With significant investments in research and development, coupled with expanding clinical applications and increasing surgeon adoption, medical robotics is poised to revolutionize healthcare delivery and set new standards for surgical excellence and patient care.

In May 2024, AiM Medical Robotics Inc. (AiM), a trailblazer in MRI-compatible intraoperative robotics for neurosurgery, is embarking on a significant collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and the Surgical Navigation and Robotics (SNR) Lab at Harvard. Together, they aim to validate AiM's groundbreaking robot for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson's patients. This pivotal study will take place in BWH's Advanced Multimodality Image-Guided Operating (AMIGO) Suite, a premier clinical research facility. AiM has already demonstrated the precision of its technology in a successful cadaver trial at the PracticePoint facility, where real-time MRI guidance ensured accurate delivery of bilateral DBS leads. This is a substantial improvement over traditional methods, where brain shifts between pre-operative imaging and surgery could cause DBS leads to miss their targets. AiM's robot effectively compensates for these shifts, showcasing its potential to significantly enhance surgical outcomes. Additionally, AiM's partnership with Synaptive Medical aims to integrate their Modus Nav neuro-navigation software with AiM's robot, optimizing the workflow for neurosurgeons. This integration promises unparalleled precision and efficiency in neurosurgical procedures, marking a major advancement in the field. Through these collaborations and technological innovations, AiM is setting new standards in neurosurgery, offering hope for improved treatment options for Parkinson's patients and beyond.

AiM Medical Robotics conducted a cadaver trial in collaboration with the clinical team from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) at the PracticePoint Medtech Accelerator facility located at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), where AiM is headquartered. During the trial, the team showcased AiM's robot in a fully direct MRI-guided procedure for bilateral deep brain stimulation lead placement in a human cadaver, with the trial led by our neurosurgeon collaborator, Dr. Cosgrove.

Invented by Zoltan Takats, a Hungarian laboratory chemist, the iKnife is a “smart” scalpel that analyzes tissue as soon as it makes contact with it during a procedure. This way, the device can provide instant data, such as detecting the presence of cancer cells, in mere seconds. With this information, doctors can immediately remove cancer cells, improving the patient’s health outcomes. Even during clinical trials, the iKnife has displayed remarkable diagnostic precision, able to differentiate benign from cancerous tissue in the ovary and tumors and normal tissue in the breast. The iKnife uses electrical currents to identify the cancerous tissue by assessing the smoke produced by the vaporized biopsy tissue once it is extracted from the uterus. Additionally, the tool can pinpoint Candida yeast species. These capabilities can help thousands of women achieve peace of mind faster and easier. A standard pathology typically takes up to two weeks to release results. Though womb or endometrial cancer ranks as the fourth most prevalent cancer in the UK and the US, a UK-based study reveals that only about 10% who displayed symptoms and underwent biopsy are diagnosed with it. Meanwhile, those who received a cancer diagnosis can immediately undergo treatment.

One of the tried-and-tested RAS technologies is the Da Vinci Surgical System, which got FDA clearance in 2000 for several procedures, such as general and gynecologic laparoscopy, urologic surgery, and non-cardiovascular thoracoscopy. Since then, the Da Vinci has helped administer over 10 million operations by more than 60,000 surgeons all over the globe. The system works via a console in the operating room and a cart equipped with three to four console-controlled robotic limbs. These robotic arms can grasp objects and conduct various tasks like cutting, grasping and cauterizing. A human operator—in this case, a surgeon—uses the console to steer the cart’s robotic arms, similar to what a crane operator does.

Though the Da Vinci is almost 8 feet tall, it easily does small, delicate cuts. “Straws” are placed in these incisions, giving access to the necessary medical tools and instruments. These include a 3D camera, enabling the surgeon to have highly-detailed left and right views of the site. The setup involves the chief surgeon taking charge of the console while a second medical practitioner acts as an assistant by preparing, placing and withdrawing instruments into and from the patient. The robot simulates the surgeon’s movements in real-time, including wrist and hand motions. Additionally, the miniature instruments attached to the robot display a broader range of motion than that of human hands. A major factor of Da Vinci’s success is patient confidence., RAS’s expansion depends on the public and medical sector’s trust in automated systems. Because Da Vinci is still human-controlled, it shatters the misperception that the robot independently handles the surgery. Instead, it is a device manipulated by a competent surgeon, exemplifying the streamlined synergy between robots and humans. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the adoption of robotic surgery rose from 1.8% in 2012 to over 15% in 2018. This growth is particularly pronounced in gynecological and urological procedures.

Da Vinci SP

Navigating Obstacles
The field of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine holds great promise for revolutionizing healthcare by enhancing surgical precision, improving patient outcomes, and streamlining medical procedures. However, several significant challenges must be addressed to fully realize the potential of these advanced technologies.
  • Haptic Feedback and Force-Based Teleoperation: One of the critical challenges in surgical robotics is achieving precise control and feedback. Current technology struggles with issues related to instrumentation fidelity, stability, and force-reflection modalities. Haptic feedback, which allows surgeons to feel what they are manipulating remotely, is essential for delicate procedures but remains difficult to perfect. The complexity of replicating the human sense of touch through robotic systems requires ongoing advancements in both hardware and software.
  • Integration with Healthcare Systems: Incorporating advanced robotic technologies into existing healthcare infrastructures is a complex task. It involves not only the physical installation of new equipment but also the integration of software systems, data management protocols, and workflow adjustments. Ensuring that these technologies work seamlessly with current practices and electronic health record systems requires careful planning and execution, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.
  • Cost and Accessibility: The high cost of developing and deploying medical robotics is a significant barrier to widespread adoption. Advanced robotic systems and computer-integrated technologies can be prohibitively expensive, making them less accessible, especially in low-resource settings. This disparity can lead to unequal access to cutting-edge medical treatments, exacerbating existing healthcare inequalities.
  • Training and Adoption: The steep learning curve associated with new medical robotics technology presents another major challenge. Healthcare professionals need extensive training to become proficient in using these sophisticated systems. This requirement can slow down the adoption and integration of new technologies into standard care practices. Continuous education and hands-on experience are essential, but these can be difficult to implement on a large scale.

These challenges underscore the necessity for ongoing research and development in the field of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort from engineers, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to develop more intuitive, cost-effective, and seamlessly integrated technologies. By overcoming these hurdles, the full potential of medical robotics can be harnessed to significantly improve patient care and outcomes.

Unleashing Potential
Despite the significant challenges faced in the development and integration of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine, the advantages these technologies offer are transformative. They are poised to revolutionize clinical practice by enhancing precision, consistency, safety, and efficiency in surgical procedures. Here, we explore the key benefits that these innovations bring to modern medicine, demonstrating how they can overcome the hurdles to significantly improve patient care.
  • Precision: One of the most remarkable advantages of medical robotics is the unparalleled precision they provide. Surgeons can manipulate instruments with superhuman accuracy, eliminating the natural hand tremor and enabling highly dexterous tasks within the patient’s body. This precision is particularly crucial in delicate procedures, such as neurosurgery or cardiac surgery, where even the smallest error can have significant consequences. Robotic systems enhance the surgeon's capabilities, allowing for more meticulous dissection and suturing than is possible with the human hand alone.
  • Consistency: Robotic systems offer a high level of consistency in performing surgical tasks. Unlike human surgeons, who may experience fatigue or variations in performance, robots can execute the same procedure repeatedly with identical precision. This consistency is vital for ensuring the success of surgeries and improving patient outcomes. By standardizing procedures, medical robotics helps reduce the variability that can affect the quality of surgical interventions.
  • Safety and Quality: Improvements in safety and the overall quality of interventions are significant benefits of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine. Robots can access hard-to-reach areas within the body with minimal invasion, reducing the risk of infection and shortening recovery times. The enhanced precision and consistency also mean fewer complications during and after surgery. These technologies provide real-time data and imaging, enabling surgeons to make better-informed decisions and execute procedures with greater confidence.
  • Efficiency: The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of care are also enhanced by medical robotics. Robotic systems can reduce operation times, allowing more procedures to be performed within the same timeframe. This efficiency not only increases the throughput of surgical departments but also potentially lowers the overall cost of care by minimizing the likelihood of complications and the need for repeat surgeries. Additionally, shorter surgeries and quicker recoveries mean patients can return to their normal lives faster, reducing the burden on healthcare systems.
  • Remote Surgery: One of the most groundbreaking benefits of medical robotics is the ability to perform remote surgeries. Surgeons can operate on patients who are miles away, using robotic systems controlled via telecommunication networks. This capability is particularly valuable in situations where specialist surgeons are not physically available, such as in rural or underserved areas, or during emergencies when immediate intervention is required but the surgeon cannot be on site. Remote surgery expands access to high-quality care, ensuring that more patients can benefit from advanced surgical techniques regardless of their location.
As we look ahead and beyond, the integration of medical robotics and computer-integrated interventional medicine continues to redefine healthcare. These technologies are not just enhancing precision, consistency, safety, and efficiency in surgical procedures—they are fundamentally improving patient outcomes and transforming the delivery of healthcare. The ability to conduct remote surgeries expands access to specialized care, ensuring that advanced treatments reach a wider population.

Moving forward, the focus will be on driving innovation that benefits both patients and healthcare systems. Capital-intensive investments in new robotic systems must demonstrate clear advantages in improving clinical outcomes and operational efficiency for healthcare providers. Second-generation robots need to deliver faster healing times and enhanced clinical value while optimizing resources and revenue streams for healthcare facilities and their staff.

Innovation in medical robotics should be purpose-driven, focusing on solving real healthcare challenges rather than just introducing new technology for its own sake. Collaborative efforts between robotics companies and healthcare professionals are crucial. By working closely with physicians in the development process, these companies can leapfrog current technologies and turn futuristic concepts into everyday medical practices.

Looking ahead, the evolution of medical robotics holds immense promise for advancing patient care and reshaping the future of medicine. Through continued research, development, and collaboration, these technologies will drive significant improvements in healthcare delivery and patient outcomes, making them indispensable tools in modern medicine.

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