The first robotic application in surgery is to place a biopsy needle to a brain by the guidance of CT images in 1985. Thereafter, R&D projects and commercial products are focusing at different surgeries to augment the benefits of precision, stability, dexterity, programmability, convenience and time/cost/personnel saving. Robotic technology is applied to Cardiology, Orthopedics, Radiotherapy, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Urology, and most significantly to Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS).
In 1994, the AESOP robot was the first robot cleared by the FDA as a camera holder to maneuver an endoscope inside the patient's body during the surgery.
In 2000, FDA has cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for multiple procedures and after 2003, it becomes the world’s only MIS surgical system. Nowadays, da Vinci Prostatectomy counts for around 90% of all U.S. surgical treatment for prostate cancer. Last year, daVinci surgical system performs 360,000 procedures mostly in prostatectomy and hysterectomy. Its razor blade business model put the stock price of Intuitive Surgical, Inc., manufacturer of daVinci surgical system, rocketing high comparable to Apple and Google.
This successful story proves to the world that 1. Surgical robot is useful, 2. The market buys the technology, and 3. The business model is awesome.
Inspiring by this success, the surgical community is excited and expecting more and more robotic technology to solve their specific needs within different disciplines; while technical teams are competing to transfer the ideas into various functional prototypes and products to share the market.