What happened

Shares of TreansEnterix Inc. (NYSEMKT:TRXC), a medical device maker focused on robotic surgery, surged on some above-average volume on Monday. The company has been quiet since a well-received presentation earlier this month, but that didn't stop the stock from rising 14.3% as of 2:43 p.m. EST on Monday. 

So what 

TransEnterix stock has been on a roller coaster ride since the FDA cleared the Senhance System for sale, and it's still prone to erratic price swings. Although the company's path to success is visible, it's taking baby steps.

Hand drawing an upward sloping chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

The system is currently cleared for laparoscopic colorectal surgery and laparoscopic gynecologic surgery, two procedures performed around 1.5 million times each year in the U.S. alone. Despite plenty of potential, TransEnterix's phone isn't ringing off the hook with calls from U.S. hospitals. The company has sold just two Senhance Systems this year, and neither was for a North American hospital.

Now what

It's still too early to be completely dismayed by a lack of new system sales in the U.S., but TransEnterix had better step up its game soon. The company exited last September with just $24.5 million in cash and cash equivalents after operations burned through $69.2 million during the first nine months of the year.

The company intends to report 2017 results after the market closes on March 6, 2018. Today's gains will be awfully short-lived if the company can't show investors any signs of life from the vital U.S. segment.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.