What happened

Shares of Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) climbed 20.3% last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The maker of advanced surgical systems is dominating the robotic healthcare industry, as its competitors struggle to enter the market.

So what

Intuitive Surgical got a boost in mid-July when Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) said its robotic surgery program was experiencing delays. With J&J now expecting to begin human trials no sooner than the second half of 2022, Intuitive Surgical will have significantly more time before it'll see increased competition. J&J also said it expects to face a more stringent standard for regulatory approval, which could make it more difficult for the healthcare giant to bring its new robotic devices to market. 

Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci Xi system.

Intuitive Surgical is the undisputed leader in robotic surgery. Image source: Intuitive Surgical.

Wall Street viewed the news as a signal of increasing barriers to entry for Intuitive Surgical's would-be rivals. In turn, several analysts boosted their price targets for the robotic surgery leader's shares. 

Later in July, Intuitive Surgical went on to deliver better-than-expected second-quarter results, which resulted in even more analyst upgrades. 

Now what 

Due to both the technological superiority of its devices and the ongoing struggles of its rivals, Intuitive Surgical is entrenched as the global leader in robotic surgical systems. With its robot-assisted solutions seeing increased adoption in an expanding array of healthcare segments, Intuitive Surgical is well-positioned to deliver even more gains to investors in the years ahead.