Is This the End of Robotic Surgery?

In the following video, Fool contributor Matt Thalman discuss how the robotic surgery industry is changing in front of investors' eyes. MAKO Surgical (UNKNOWN: MAKO.DL  ) and Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG  ) are the two big players in this market and have seen their share prices fall in the past few months as sales have slowed down. At least for Intuitive Surgical, this comes at a time when the company is attempting to transition from relying on selling razors to selling more blades, with demand from hospitals slowing down as many can't justify spending the money on the da Vinci machine today.

As we've seen with other industries, selling the razor is great, but over the course of years and years, the real money comes from selling the blades.

Check out the video for more information.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2013, at 5:46 PM, Dawgpac wrote:

    "MAKO Surgical (NASDAQ: MAKO ) and Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG ) are the two big players in this market and have seen their share prices fall in the past few months as sales have slowed down"

    Hmm. Actually "in the last few months" MAKO has gone from $11 to $14 and touched as high as $15.50 after Q2 results were released and various analysts price targets were subsequently raised.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2013, at 11:16 PM, altmd71 wrote:

    Obamacare will kill the robot. The hospital or doctor does not get paid any more for using the robot and the costs and surgical times are much greater than other forms of minimally invasive surgery. The surgical results are not any better than other forms of minimally invasive surgery. Hospitals use it as a marketing tool. As more surgeons are trained on the robot complications are increasing and more lawsuits will follow. Intuitive Surgical "rewards" doctors for using or promoting the robot with various gifts or perks. It is a sleazy company.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2013, at 11:43 PM, lilyvonshtupp wrote:

    Will barrycare force us back to the days of bloodletting and leeches ?

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:17 AM, PeterC89 wrote:

    Daw -

    Nice call on MAKO. Looks like some "fool" didn't do his homework before handing out punishment. Although I'm not a fan of isrg, but the put option looks pretty good on isrg prior to its next earnings call.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 2:51 PM, davaidesign wrote:

    Cisco stock recently dropped and they laid off hundreds of people. Oh lawd, is this the end of the Internet?!?! Will I have to wish friends happy birthdays over the phone from now on?

    Putting aside the airhead aspect of this piece for a second, "sales" haven't slowed down (a.k.a. contraction). Sales are actually growing. The rate of "growth" has slowed down for ISRG, with MAKO keeping steady, and in both cases surgeries performed using robots is growing consistently, so what exactly are you talking about Matt?

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2014, at 7:44 PM, elijed23 wrote:

    When it comes to certain surgeries, I think it isn't a bad idea to have robots performing the surgery. Using bladeless laser machinery can be more accurate. I always want a doctor there to monitor however.

    Elisa Jed | http://cataractsurgeryverobeach.com/cfiles/laser.cfm

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2014, at 7:41 PM, elijed23 wrote:

    I think having a robot perform certain surgeries makes sense, as long as the machine is clean and accurate. A lot of hospitals have had their funding cut recently, so they may not be able to pay for the machine and blades. I hope they are able to find a balance.

    Elisa Jed | http://www.californiaeyespecialists.com/EyeSurgicalCenter.as...

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