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Three Articles Question the Effectiveness of da Vinci Robotic Surgery

da-vinci-surgery-medical-malpracticeHow Effective are da Vinci Surgeries?

Three recent articles from AARPFortune & The Wall Street Journal discuss the effectiveness of robotic surgeries like the ones performed by Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the da Vinci system in 2000 for a large range of surgeries.  Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, reports in the AARP article, “Years of data tell us that for many procedures, there’s no benefit to the patient over standard minimally invasive surgeries.”  The Fortune article cites a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association that “…found little added benefit to hysterectomies performed with a robot.”  The Wall Street Journal reports, “About 25% of the women who had laparoscopic hysterectomies stayed in the hospital longer than two days, compared with 20% of those who had robotic procedures.  But the overall complication rate was the same–5%–for both groups.  The average total cost to the hospital for the robotic hysterectomy was $8,868, compared with $6,679 for a laparoscopic procedure and $6,651 for the open surgery.”

Why would I choose to have my surgery done with a da Vinci robot?

Why would anyone choose to have a more expensive procedure done when there is “little added benefit”?  The Wall Street Journal reports, “Proponents say robotic surgery involves less scarring, less pain, less blood loss, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and a faster recovery than traditional open surgery with a large incision.”  AARP quotes Karen Schoelles M.D., medical director of the ERCI Institute, as saying, “Billboards and TV commercials can make hospitals that have the robot seem more high tech and cutting edge.”

Why would doctors want to take a risk on technology that has “little benefit” to his or her patients?  Fortune says, “Like any very expensive piece of health care technology, surgical robots are market makers.  After spending millions on the machine, its component parts, and training for the team in the operating room, a hospital will look for a return on its investment.”

What should I do if my doctor recommends a robotic surgery?

  • Always consult with your doctor about what your options are for the procedure.
  • Ask how experienced you doctor is in using that technique.
  • Read all of the provided warnings and materials about the type of procedure you are going to under go.
  • Get a second or third opinion from other doctors.

Click to read the full articles:

If you or a loved one has suffered complications during or after undergoing a robotic surgery, contact the da Vinci lawsuit attorneys at Hensley Legal Group right away. Call (317) 472-3333 or just click here.