Along with the rise of AI in healthcare, the application of robotics in surgery is a rapidly growing field that offers many benefits for the medical field. It promises improved precision, control, and access during surgical procedures through the use of surgical robots, complex systems consisting of a console, robotic arms, and surgical instruments. The surgeon uses the console to control the robotic arms, translating their hand movements into precise motions. Notable examples of such systems include the da Vinci Surgical System, widely used in urology, gynecology, and general surgery. It’s critical to understand that these robots are not designed to replace surgeons but to enhance surgical procedures, with surgeons maintaining control and making critical decisions throughout the process.
According to a report, the Global Surgical Robotics Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.16% from 2022 to 2030, from a value of US$ 4.65 Billion in 2022. This growth is driven by the multiple advantages of surgical robots, such as high precision, dexterity, and the capability to perform complex procedures with greater accuracy. The minimally invasive nature of procedures performed using these robots reduces patient trauma and recovery time. In addition, the provision of high-definition 3D visuals of the surgical site and the ability to filter out natural hand tremors offers increased precision in delicate procedures.
In terms of market segments, the largest share is held by instruments and accessories due to the high demand for compatible products across various procedures. Customizability, the regular need for upgrades, replacements, and the disposable nature of many components all contribute to ongoing demand. Furthermore, continuous research and development are introducing innovative instruments and accessories, meeting surgeons’ evolving needs.
Surgical robots are increasingly being adopted in general surgery, driven by the expanding capabilities of these robots and increased surgeon adoption. The technology aligns well with the minimally invasive approach of general surgery, increasing its utility. Patient demand for less invasive options, coupled with the continuous technological advancements that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of robot-assisted surgery, expands the scope of procedures performed using surgical robots.
The growth of the surgical robotics market varies regionally. The fastest growth is expected in the Asia-Pacific region due to the increasing healthcare infrastructure, rising expenditure, and greater awareness of the benefits of robot-assisted procedures. In contrast, North America leads the market due to its pioneering role in technological advancements, the presence of leading companies and research institutions, a well-established healthcare infrastructure, and stringent regulatory frameworks.
On the end-user front, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) are expected to thrive in the future due to their cost-effectiveness, expertise in minimally invasive procedures, high patient satisfaction, and regulatory support. Technological advancements have made surgical robotics more compact, user-friendly, and affordable, increasing their adoption in ASCs.
Key players in the global surgical robotics market include Medtronic, Intuitive Surgical, Stryker Corporation, Smith & Nephew, Zimmer Biomet, Renishaw plc, and Siemens Healthineers.
The future of surgical robotics looks promising. The first robotic surgical system approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the da Vinci Surgical System, has sparked significant investment in medical robotics. Advances in technologies like AI and cloud computing are paving the way for innovations in surgical robotics, leading to better clinical outcomes and reducing the workload for healthcare providers. Furthermore, manufacturers are continually improving robot design, making them more efficient and versatile.
Looking ahead, the emergence of “soft robotics” is expected to revolutionize surgical robotics by overcoming the limitations of current systems, such as their rigidity and limited applications. Soft robots, unlike their predecessors, will be flexible, hingeless, and can be inserted deeper into the body. These robots will likely be equipped with extremely flexible instruments made of materials like Nitinol, a super-elastic alloy that offers significant opportunities in the world of soft robotics.