From the New York Times:
What do you call a surgeon who operates without scalpels, stitching tools or a powerful headlamp to light the patient’s insides? A better doctor, according to a growing number of surgeons who prefer to hand over much of the blood-and-guts portion of their work to medical robots controlled from computer consoles.
Many urologists performing prostate surgery view the precise, tremor-free movements of a robot as the best way to spare nerves crucial to bladder control and sexual potency. A robot’s ability to deftly handle small tools may lead to a less invasive procedure and faster recovery for a patient. Robots also can protect surgeons from physical stress and exposure to X-rays that may force them into premature retirement.
A generation ago, the debate in medicine was whether robotics would ever play a role. Today, robots are a fast-growing, diversifying $1 billion segment of the medical device industry. And Wall Street has just two questions for the industry: How far is this going, and how fast?