Medtronic is the newest player in robotic surgery technology

by | Dec 15, 2021 | Digital Health, Healthcare Industry News

Medtronic has taken a major step forward in its effort to compete with Intuitive Surgical by enrolling
the first patient in a U.S. clinical trial of its Hugo robotic-assisted surgery system. This marks the
beginning of a new era in the field of robotic-assisted surgery and could open a range of possibilities
for patients to receive swift and effective surgery. The trial is designed to evaluate the safety and
effectiveness of the Hugo system compared to conventional surgical procedures.
Hugo will be tested primarily in urologic procedures, an industry in which the organization Intuitive’s ‘da Vinci’ robot is currently active. The trial is set to be conducted on over one hundred patients at
six facilities nationwide, and Medtronic will focus on the following urologic procedures:
• Radical Prostatectomy
• Radical Cystectomy
• Nephrectomy (partial or radical)
Hugo has already been released in several nations; however commercial success has been
considerably lagging. The midpoint of Medtronic’s range for revenues in 2021 was reduced from
seventy-five million dollars to thirty million dollars. Medtronic stated in recent financial results that
sales are improving, despite the business failing to reach the autumn 2022 launch target previously
thought feasible two years prior. This is primarily due to supply chain and production issues in the
United States. Medtronic have seen tangible progress through Michael Abern, who recently
performed the first procedure in Medtronic’s Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) trial at Duke
University Hospital. This is a major step in Medtronic’s efforts to enter the U.S. market effectively.
The IDE trial may aid Medtronic in gathering critical clinical data needed to progress the Hugo
Dr. James Porter, a urologic surgeon at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA, commented on the
landscape of the robotic healthcare industry, stating: “This is an exciting time for healthcare in the
United States and around the world, as we have the opportunity to expand robotic-assisted surgery
treatment options to more patients…Backed by a growing body of clinical evidence, robotic-assisted
surgery is the preferred approach within urology given the anatomical access, precision, and
ergonomic advantages it enables.”
It is imperative that Hugo launch at a favorable time in their market. Intuitive are increasing the
volume of surgeries they perform yet are facing delays in the of their equipment. In years past, a
shortage of staff employed in hospitals has caused significant issues, however, robotics gives
hospitals the opportunity to run with less staff due to less of an emphasis being placed on the
aftercare of surgery.

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