Intuitive Surgical, Inc. was founded in 1995. We are a Delaware corporation with our corporate headquarters located at 1266 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, California 94086. Our telephone number is (408) 523-2100, and our website address is www.intuitivesurgical.com . In this report, “Intuitive Surgical,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Intuitive Surgical, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries. Intuitive®, Intuitive Surgical®, da Vinci®, da Vinci S®, da Vinci® S HD Surgical System™, da Vinci® Si™, EndoWrist®, and InSite® are trademarks of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
We design, manufacture and market da Vinci Surgical Systems, EndoWrist instruments, and surgical accessories, which we believe are enabling a new generation of surgery. We believe that this new generation of surgery, which we call da Vinci surgery, is a significant advancement similar in scope to previous generations of surgery—open surgery and minimally invasive surgery, or conventional MIS. Our da Vinci Surgical Systems consist of a surgeon’s console, or consoles, a patient-side cart and a high performance vision system. By placing computer-enhanced technology between the surgeon and patient, we believe that our products enable surgeons to perform advanced surgery in a manner never before experienced. The da Vinci Surgical System controls Intuitive Surgical endoscopic instruments, including rigid endoscopes, blunt and sharp endoscopic dissectors, scissors, scalpels, forceps/pickups, needle holders, endoscopic retractors, basic and advanced electrocautery instruments, ultrasonic cutters, and accessories during a wide range of surgical procedures. The da Vinci Surgical System translates the surgeon’s natural hand movements performed on instrument controls at a surgeon’s console into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient through small incisions, or ports.
Our da Vinci Surgical System provides the surgeon with the intuitive control, range of motion, fine tissue manipulation capability and high definition 3-D vision, while simultaneously allowing the surgeon to work through the small ports of MIS. The da Vinci Surgical System is used to perform surgery across multiple surgical specialties, including urology, gynecology, cardiothoracic surgery, transoral surgery, and general surgery.
In March 1997, surgeons using an early prototype of our technology performed the first da Vinci surgery on humans. In the second quarter of 1999, we began selling da Vinci products and services outside the United States. In July 2000, we obtained clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market our products in the United States for use in general laparoscopic procedures.
The following table summarizes our FDA clearances to date:
• July 2000—General laparoscopic procedures
• March 2001—Non-cardiac thoracoscopic procedures
• May 2001—Prostatectomy procedures
• November 2002—Cardiotomy procedures
• July 2004—Cardiac revascularization procedures
• March 2005—Urologic surgical procedures
• April 2005—Gynecologic surgical procedures
• June 2005—Pediatric surgical procedures
• December 2009—Transoral Otolaryngologic surgical procedures
In January 2006 we began selling the da Vinci S Surgical System in the United States and Europe. In March 2008 we received clearance in the United States to market our system-held cardiac stabilizer and permission to remove the warning in our labeling regarding system use in non-arrested heart procedures. During first quarter of 2009, we received clearance to market our da Vinci Si Surgical System in the United States and Europe.
In November 2009, we received regulatory (Shonin) approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) for our da Vinci S System in Japan. With this approval, we are now focusing on meeting various trade and importation requirements necessary for commercialization and to obtain appropriate reimbursement rates for several da Vinci procedures in Japan. We have a separate independent distribution partner in Japan who will be responsible for selling, marketing, and servicing our products in Japan.
As of December 31, 2009, we had an installed base of 1,395 da Vinci Surgical Systems. During the year ended December 31, 2009 surgeons using our technology completed approximately 205,000 surgical procedures of various types in major hospitals throughout the world. Out of those da Vinci procedures performed in 2009, approximately 90,000 were da Vinci Prostatectomy (dVP) procedures and approximately 69,000 were da Vinci Hysterectomy (dVH) procedures.
We operate our business as one segment as defined by generally accepted accounting principles. Our financial results for the three years ended December 31, 2009 are discussed in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report.
da Vinci Surgery
Open surgery remains the predominant form of surgery and is still used in almost every area of the body. However, the large incisions required for open surgery create trauma to the patient, resulting in longer hospitalization and recovery times, increased hospitalization costs, and additional pain and suffering. Over the past two decades, MIS has reduced trauma to the patient by allowing selected surgeries to be performed through small ports rather than large incisions, often resulting in shorter recovery times, fewer complications and reduced hospitalization costs. MIS has been widely adopted for certain surgical procedures, but it has not been widely adopted within complex surgical procedures.
The da Vinci Surgical System enables surgeons to overcome many of the shortcomings of both open surgery and conventional MIS and enables a new generation of surgery, da Vinci Surgery. Surgeons operate while seated comfortably at a console viewing a high resolution, 3-D HD image of the surgical field. This immersive visualization connects the surgeon to the surgical field and the instruments. While seated at the console, the surgeon manipulates instrument controls in a natural manner, just as he or she has been trained to do in open surgery. Our technology is designed to provide surgeons with a range of motion in the surgical field analogous to the motions of a human wrist, while filtering out the tremor inherent in a surgeon’s hand. In designing our products, we have focused on making our technology as simple as possible to use.
Our products are designed to convert a broad range of open surgical and conventional MIS procedures to da Vinci surgery. The da Vinci Surgical System is designed to enable surgeons to improve surgical outcomes while providing patients with the benefits of MIS. We believe that these advantages have begun to facilitate a fundamental change in surgery and that our technology overcomes many of the limitations of existing MIS tools and techniques in the following ways:
Immersive 3-D Visualization. Our vision system includes a 3-D endoscope with two independent vision channels linked to two separate color monitors. Our vision system is designed to give surgeons the perception that their hands are immersed in the surgical field even though they are outside the patient’s body. As a result, we believe that surgeons no longer feel disconnected from the surgical field and the instruments, as they currently do with conventional MIS. In addition, the 3-D High Definition vision system with advanced image processing including edge enhancement and noise reduction provides a brighter and sharper image than any other 3-D endoscope vision system currently available. The da Vinci Surgical System provides visualization of the target anatomy with natural depth-of-field, enhanced contrast and magnification for more accurate tissue identification and tissue layer differentiation. Improved visualization also enables surgeons to perform delicate tissue handling and dissection with added precision—even in confined spaces. This precision may help the surgeon avoid trauma to surrounding structures and tissues such as the neurovascular bundle located near the prostate.
Precise and Tremor-free Endoscope Control. The InSite system also incorporates our proprietary Navigator camera control technology that allows the surgeon to easily change, move, zoom and rotate his or her field of vision. Endoscope control, provided through the hand controls and foot pedals, provides near-seamless transition between views. Surgeons can reposition the surgical camera in an instant with foot controls or zoom in, out, up, down, left and right by moving their hands in the desired direction while maintaining a stable image. Repositioning of the surgeon’s head at the console does not affect image quality as with other 3-D display systems. The combination of these features offers what we believe is the most advanced surgical vision system available today.
Intuitive Instrument Movements. Our technology is designed to directly transform the surgeon’s natural hand movements outside the body into corresponding micro-movements inside the patient’s body. For example, with the da Vinci Surgical System, a hand movement to the right outside the body causes the instrument inside the patient to be moved to the right. In contrast, conventional MIS instruments are essentially long rigid levers that rotate around a fulcrum, or pivot point, located at the port created in the body wall. In conventional MIS, the instrument tip moves in the opposite direction from the surgeon’s hand and surgeons must adjust their hand-eye coordination to translate their hand movements in this “backward” environment.
• EndoWrist Instruments Provide Natural Dexterity and Range of Motion. Our technology is designed to provide surgeons with a range of motion in the surgical field analogous to the motions of a human hand and wrist and enable more widespread use of advanced techniques as well as a reduced learning curve when compared to conventional MIS techniques. The surgeon controls the instrument movements from the surgeon’s console using natural hand and wrist movements. Our proprietary instruments, which we call EndoWrist instruments, incorporate “wrist” joints that enable surgeons to reach behind tissues and suture with precision, just as they can in open surgery. Added instrument range-of-motion enhances access and safety while operating in the confined space of the closed chest, abdomen or pelvis. EndoWrist joints are located near the tips of all of our instruments. Conventional MIS instruments provide surgeons less flexibility, dexterity and range of motion than their own hands provide in open surgical procedures. For example, conventional MIS instruments in widespread use today do not have joints near their tips, and cannot replicate a surgeon’s hand and wrist movements to perform manipulations, such as reaching behind tissue, suturing and fine dissection.
• More Precise, Tremor-reduced Movement. With our technology, the surgeon can also use “motion scaling,” a feature that translates, for example, a three-millimeter hand movement outside the patient’s body into a one-millimeter instrument movement in the surgical field inside the patient’s body. Motion scaling is designed to allow greater precision than is normally achievable in either open surgery or conventional MIS. In addition, our technology provides the filtering of tremor inherent in a surgeon’s hands.
Superior Surgeon Ergonomics. The da Vinci Surgical System is designed to allow surgeons to operate while seated, which is not only more comfortable, but also may be clinically advantageous due to reduced surgeon fatigue. The da Vinci Surgical System’s design provides natural hand to eye alignment at the surgeon’s console, which provides improved ergonomics over traditional laparoscopic technology. Since the da Vinci Surgical System’s robotic arms hold the camera and instruments steady, there is less surgeon assistance required and reduced surgeon fatigue and also potentially reduced abdominal wall torque.
• Improved Ease-of-Use shortens learning curves. We have designed our products to make them as simple as possible to use, even though the underlying technology is inherently complex. We believe that tissue manipulations using our products are as natural as hand movements in open surgery. In our experience, based on feedback from surgeons who have performed thousands of procedures, surgeons can learn to manipulate our instruments with less training than is typically required for the surgeon to become skilled in conventional MIS. The time required to learn to perform surgical procedures using the da Vinci Surgical System varies depending on the complexity of the procedure and the surgical team’s experience with MIS techniques.
• Multi-Specialty Surgical Platform. The da Vinci Surgical System is designed to enable surgeons to perform a wide range of surgical procedures. To date, we believe surgeons have used the da Vinci Surgical System to perform nearly 100 different types of surgical procedures.
We believe that these technological advantages provide the patient with benefits of reduced trauma while restoring to the surgeon the 3D visualization, range of motion and fine tissue control consistent with open surgery, We believe that our technology has the potential to change surgical procedures in two basic ways:
• Convert a Large Percentage of Open Procedures to da Vinci Surgery. We believe that our technology has the potential to convert a large percentage of open procedures which are traditionally performed through large incisions to da Vinci surgery.
• Facilitate Difficult MIS Operations. We believe that several surgical procedures are performed only rarely today using conventional MIS techniques can be performed routinely using da Vinci surgery. Some procedures have been adapted for MIS techniques but are extremely difficult and are currently performed by a limited number of highly skilled surgeons. We believe our da Vinci Surgical System will enable more surgeons at more institutions to perform these procedures.
Intuitive Surgical’s Products and Services
Our principal products include three models of da Vinci Surgical System—da Vinci Si Surgical System, da Vinci S Surgical System and standard da Vinci Surgical System, along with a variety of EndoWrist instruments and accessories.
da Vinci Surgical System
Our da Vinci Surgical System is comprised of the following components:
• Surgeon’s Console or Consoles. The da Vinci Surgical System allows one or two surgeons to operate while comfortably seated at an ergonomic console viewing a 3-D image of the surgical field. The surgeon’s fingers grasp the instrument controls below the display with hands naturally positioned relative to his or her eyes. Using electronic hardware, software, algorithms, mechanics and optics, our technology translates the surgeon’s hand movements into precise and corresponding real-time micro movements of the EndoWrist instruments positioned inside the patient.
• Patient-Side Cart. The patient-side cart, which can be easily moved next to the operating table, holds electromechanical arms that manipulate the instruments inside the patient. Up to four arms attached to the cart can be easily positioned as appropriate, and then locked into place. The first two arms, one representing the left hand and one representing the right hand of the surgeon, hold our EndoWrist instruments. The third arm positions the endoscope, allowing the surgeon to easily move, zoom and rotate his or her field of vision. The fourth arm provides additional surgical capabilities by holding an additional EndoWrist instrument as well as potentially reducing the need for an assistant surgeon. The surgeon has a choice of simultaneously controlling any two of the operating arms by tapping a foot pedal underneath the surgeon’s console. The fourth instrument arm extends surgical capabilities by enabling the surgeon to add a third EndoWrist instrument and perform additional tasks such as applying counter traction and following running sutures. The fourth instrument arm is a standard integrated feature on the da Vinci Si and da Vinci S surgical systems and is available as a field upgrade on three-arm standard da Vinci and three-arm da Vinci S Surgical Systems.
• 3-D Vision System. Our vision system includes our InSite 3-D endoscope with two separate vision channels linked to two separate color monitors through high performance video cameras and specialized edge enhancement and noise reduction equipment. The resulting 3-D image has high resolution and contrast and no flicker or cross fading, which sometimes occurs in single monitor systems, and minimizes eye fatigue. Our HD vision system provides at least 20% more viewing area and enhances visualization of tissue planes and critical anatomy compared with our standard vision system. The digital zoom feature in the 3-D HD vision system allows surgeons to magnify the surgical field of view without adjusting endoscope position and reduces interference between the endoscope and instruments. The 3-D HD vision is a standard integrated feature on da Vinci S Surgical Systems sold today and as an upgrade option to our existing customers who own a da Vinci S Surgical System without HD vision.
Our newest da Vinci model, the da Vinci Si, was launched in April 2009. The da Vinci Si System retains and builds on the core technology at the heart of the existing da Vinci and da Vinci S Systems. The da Vinci Si brings to market three significant innovations.
First, our InSite™ imaging system has been substantially redesigned for increased visual acuity and improved ease-of-use. The HD imaging system’s increased performance is similar to the move from 720p to 1080i in commercial television. We believe that the increased visual performance will continue to enhance surgeon precision and confidence, which may contribute to improved patient outcomes and shorter procedure times. Additionally, the da Vinci Si surgeon’s user interface has been redesigned to allow simplified and integrated control of da Vinci products and other operating room devices, such as electro-surgical units. The new user interface also includes a set of ergonomic controls for surgeon comfort. We believe the simplified interface may allow for easier surgeon training. The third significant enhancement is the introduction of a second surgeon’s console, which we envision to be used in two possible ways: to provide assistance to the primary surgeon during surgery, or, to be used as an active aid during surgeon-student training sessions. With the da Vinci Si, a surgeon sitting at a second console can view the same surgery as the primary surgeon and can be passed control of some or all of the da Vinci arms during a case. We believe this could both shorten the learning curve for new surgeons and will allow for collaborative surgery in complex cases.
EndoWrist Instruments, Accessories and Vision Components
We manufacture a variety of EndoWrist instruments, each of which incorporates wrist joints for natural dexterity, with tips customized for various surgical procedures. EndoWrist instruments are offered in both 5mm and 8mm diameter sizes. The instruments mount onto the electromechanical arms that represent the surgeon’s left and right hands and provide the mechanical capability necessary for performing complex tissue manipulations through ports. At their tips, the various EndoWrist instruments include forceps, scissors, electrocautery, scalpels and other surgical tools that are familiar to the surgeon from open surgery and conventional MIS. Generally, a variety of EndoWrist instruments are selected and used interchangeably during a surgery. Where instrument tips need to incorporate a disposable component, such as scalpel blades, we sell disposable inserts. We plan to continue to add new types of EndoWrist instruments for additional types of surgical procedures.
The EndoWrist instruments are sterilizable and most are reusable for a defined number of procedures. A programmed memory chip inside each instrument performs several functions that help determine how the system and instruments work together. When an EndoWrist instrument is attached to an arm of the patient-side cart, the chip performs an “electronic handshake” that ensures the instrument was manufactured by us and communicates the type and function of the instrument and number of past uses. For example, the chip distinguishes between scissors and a scalpel and controls the unique functions of different instruments as appropriate. In addition, the chip will not allow the instrument to be used for more than the prescribed number of procedures so that its performance meets specifications during each procedure.
We also sell various vision and accessory products, which are used in conjunction with the da Vinci Surgical System as surgical procedures are performed. Accessory products include sterile drapes used to ensure a sterile field during surgery, vision products such as replacement 3-D stereo endoscopes, camera heads, light guides, and other miscellaneous items. Existing da Vinci S instruments and most da Vinci S accessories are compatible with the da Vinci Si system.
Using the da Vinci Surgical System
During a procedure, the patient-side cart is positioned next to the operating table with the electromechanical arms arranged to provide access to the initial ports selected by the surgeon. Once the ports have been placed by the surgeon, the arms of the da Vinci Surgical System are positioned and the EndoWrist instruments are introduced into the patient’s body. The surgeon then performs the procedure while sitting comfortably at the surgeon’s console, manipulating the instrument controls and viewing the operation through our high performance 3-D vision system. When a surgeon needs to change an instrument, as is done many times during an operation, the instrument is withdrawn from the surgical field using the controls at the console, in similar fashion to the way a surgeon withdraws instruments from the patient in conventional MIS. A scrub nurse standing near the patient removes the instrument from the electromechanical arm and replaces it with another instrument, in a process designed to be rapid enough not to disturb the natural flow of the procedure. As a result, the scrub nurse plays a role similar to that played in open surgery and conventional MIS. At the conclusion of the operation, the small port incisions are closed with either suture or band-aids.
Our objective is to bring the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to as many patients as possible. Our priorities to accomplish this are as follows:
1. Patient Value. We believe that the value of a surgical procedure to a patient can be defined as: Patient Value = Efficacy/Invasiveness. Most patients will place higher value on procedures that are not only more efficacious, but also less invasive than alternative treatments. Our goal is to provide patients with procedure options that are both highly effective and less invasive than other surgical options.
2. Key Procedures. We believe that the adoption of da Vinci surgery occurs based upon the patient value it brings to each surgical procedure. We therefore focus our development efforts on those procedures to which we believe our products bring the highest patient value. We currently focus on five surgical specialties: urologic surgery, gynecologic surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery and head and neck surgery. In 2009, the mix of procedures performed with the da Vinci Surgical System among these five surgical specialties was largest within urology, followed by gynecology, cardiothoracic, general surgery and head and neck surgery. The da Vinci Surgical System is used to perform, among other procedures, da Vinci Prostatectomy, da Vinci Partial Nephrectomy & Nephrectomy, da Vinci Cystectomy, da Vinci Pyeloplasty, da Vinci Hysterectomy, da Vinci Myomectomy, da Vinci Sacral Colpopexy, da Vinci Mitral Valve Repair, da Vinci Revascularization, da Vinci Thoracoscopy, da Vinci Gastric Bypass, da Vinci Low Anterior Colon Resection and da Vinci Thyroidectomy. The development of new specialties and key procedures in partnership with leading surgeons have been, and will continue to be, a catalyst for the growth of our company.
3. Surgeon Value. We train and assist surgeons in building their practices by delivering superior patient value through improved surgical efficacy and reduced surgical trauma.
4. Hospital Value. We assist both academic and community hospitals in building value by offering superior patient value in terms of improved surgical efficacy and reduced surgical trauma thereby increasing surgical revenue and reducing costs through lower complication rates and reduced length of patient stay. We expect these efforts to increase demand for our products among competitive hospitals, surgeons and referring physicians.
We believe our technology is capable of enhancing or enabling a wide variety of procedures in many surgical specialties. Surgeons using our da Vinci Surgical System have completed hundreds of thousands of surgical procedures of various types, including urologic, gynecologic, cardiothoracic, general and head and neck surgery procedures. These surgical applications, which are currently cleared by the FDA, are further described below.
Prostatectomy. Radical prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate gland in patients diagnosed with clinically localized prostatic cancer. The standard approach to removal of the prostate has been via an open surgical procedure. The laparoscopic approach, while not prevalent, is an option, but is difficult and poses challenges to even the most skilled urologist. The da Vinci Surgical System allows for improved visualization of the gross anatomy (dorsal veins, endopelvic fascia, bladder muscle, puboprostatic ligaments), microanatomy (bladder muscosa, nerve bundles) and tissue planes, which are critical for an anatomic dissection. Peer-reviewed clinical publications have reported that radical prostatectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System has improved oncologic results, reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, improved cosmesis, quicker return to normal activity and may provide a better nerve-sparing operation. The da Vinci Surgical System has enabled a large number of surgeons to convert from using an open surgical technique to a minimally invasive technique.
Nephrectomy (partial and total). Partial nephrectomy is the removal of a small portion of a kidney (typically, an area of the kidney containing a tumor), and total nephrectomy is the total removal of a kidney. Partial nephrectomies are most commonly performed in patients diagnosed with clinically localized renal cancer, when the tumor size is four centimeters or less in size. Total nephrectomies are also most commonly performed in patients diagnosed with clinically localized renal cancer that are not resectable with a partial nephrectomy and are also performed in patients suffering from various benign conditions. There are currently three surgical approaches to performing partial nephrectomies: open surgical technique, which requires a large incision; laparoscopy, which allows the surgeon to operate through several small incisions, and hand assisted, which incorporates both laparoscopy and a modified open surgical technique. Surgeons have reported that the combination of the da Vinci Surgical System’s improved visualization capabilities and enhanced dexterity allows for greater precision and control during these complex surgical procedures, which could enable a large number of these procedures to be performed through this minimally invasive technique resulting in reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity and improved cosmesis.
Cystectomy. Cystectomy is the removal of the bladder in patients diagnosed with bladder cancer. The current standard approach to the removal of the bladder is via an open surgical procedure. The laparoscopic approach, while not prevalent, is an option, but is difficult and poses challenges to even the most skilled urologist. The da Vinci Surgical System allows for improved visualization of the gross anatomy and tissue planes, which are critical for an anatomic dissection. The da Vinci Surgical System has enabled a number of these procedures to be converted from an open surgical technique to a minimally invasive technique, thus reducing blood loss and pain and allowing for the patient’s quicker return to normal activity.
Pyeloplasty. Pyeloplasty is the surgical reconstruction or revision of the renal pelvis to drain and decompress the kidney. In nearly all cases, the goal of pyeloplasty surgery is to relieve a uretero-pelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction. There are currently two surgical approaches to performing pyeloplasties: open surgical technique, which requires a large incision, and laparoscopy, which allows the surgeon to operate through several small incisions. Surgeons have reported that the combination of the da Vinci Surgical System’s improved visualization capabilities and enhanced dexterity allows for greater precision and control during these complex surgical procedures, which could enable a large number of these procedures to be performed through this minimally invasive technique resulting in reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity and improved cosmesis.
Hysterectomy. Removal of the uterus is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in gynecology and is preformed for a variety of benign and malignant conditions. Hysterectomies can be performed using open surgery, a vaginal approach, or MIS techniques, which include both laparoscopic and robotic approaches. Performing a hysterectomy requires a significant degree of tissue manipulation in the dissection and ligation, or tying, of blood vessels, ligaments and other pelvic structures. An MIS approach to hysterectomy is associated with less pain, shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery compared to an open surgical technique. It is often difficult to ensure the identification and prevention of injury to the ureters and bladder with conventional laparoscopic instruments because of the limited angles at which these instruments can be positioned. Furthermore, in hysterectomy procedures for treating endometrial or cervical cancer, it is difficult to access and remove a large number of lymph nodes to better stage the cancer with conventional laparoscopic techniques. A robotic technique with use of the da Vinci Surgical System can bring the benefits of MIS to the patients while offsetting the limitations of conventional laparoscopy. Specifically, patients that would traditionally have a hysterectomy through an open surgical technique, for a “complex-benign” or a malignant clinical condition may see significant benefit from a robotic MIS approach including reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity and improved cosmesis. We believe that our products will increase the surgeon’s dexterity in this procedure and, as a result, may have a significant impact on safety, operating time, and rate of adoption of port-based techniques in hysterectomy.
Myomectomy. Myomectomy, or removal of a myoma/fibroid, is a surgical procedure performed when uterine preservation is sought. Women who desire to remain fertile are candidates for this procedure. Due to the substantial suturing required for this procedure, the standard surgical approach remains an open incision. There are some highly skilled gynecological laparoscopists who perform laparoscopic myomectomies, but to this point, it has remained a small minority. We believe that the da Vinci Surgical System’s improved visualization capabilities and enhanced dexterity allows for greater precision and control during these complex surgical procedures, which could enable a large number of these procedures to be performed minimally invasively resulting in reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity and improved cosmesis.
Sacral Colpopexy. The abdominal sacral colpopexy is one of the most successful operations for vaginal vault prolapse. Sacral colpopexy involves suturing a synthetic mesh that connects and supports the vagina to the sacrum (tailbone). A sacral colpopexy can be performed using conventional laparoscopic technique, it is however, generally described as difficult and cumbersome to perform. da Vinci sacral colpopexy combines the benefits of a minimally invasive procedure with the durability of a traditional abdominal approach resulting in reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity and improved cosmesis.
Mitral Valve Repair. When patients are diagnosed with mitral valve disease, there are two surgical treatment options from which they can choose: mitral valve replacement or mitral valve repair. Mitral valve repairs are generally preferred over mitral valve replacement for a number of reasons, which include longevity and durability of the repaired valve over a replacement valve and the elimination or reduction of the patient’s post-surgical pharmaceutical regimen. Since mitral valve repairs are considered to be more technically challenging than mitral valve replacements, they are only performed approximately 50% of the time. When performing da Vinci mitral valve repairs, surgeons have reported that the enhanced 3-D visualization provides for essential identification of difficult to see anatomical structures and tissue planes. EndoWrist joints permit them to precisely manipulate delicate structures inside of the heart and accurately place sutures into the targeted tissues. In addition, surgeons using the da Vinci Surgical System to operate from a lateral right-sided approach have reported that this requires less tissue manipulation than operating through a sternotomy, while providing greater anatomical exposure. As a result of these factors, several of our surgeon customers have reported a significant improvement in their mitral valve repair rates (>95%) over mitral valve replacements within their practices. Our da Vinci Surgical System is enabling heart valve repairs to be performed through small ports in a manner that could not have been accomplished with open surgery resulting in reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity and improved cosmesis.
Cardiac Revascularization or Coronary Artery Bypass. The traditional approach to coronary artery bypass grafting, or CABG, involves splitting the breastbone via a median sternotomy incision, placing the patient on cardio pulmonary bypass, or CPB, and “bypassing” diseased segments of arteries in the heart with conduit arteries and veins. Over time, successful results from this operation have been widely reported. However, there are known morbidities from this approach that MIS techniques for coronary artery bypass surgery seek to overcome. With assistance from the da Vinci Surgical System, patients can undergo single or multi-vessel full surgical revascularization utilizing all arterial conduits (IMA/BIMA), while avoiding CPB and the median sternotomy incision, thus reducing the morbidities associated with these procedures. In Single-Vessel or Multi-Vessel Small Thoracotomy bypass, or SVST/ MVST procedures, surgeons use the da Vinci Surgical System to precisely mobilize one or both internal mammary arteries for use in the bypass operation. This is accomplished through three small port incisions in the left chest and once completed, the middle port incision is extended into a four- to six- centimeter incision, enabling the surgeon to complete the anastomoses directly through the incision resulting in reduced operative blood loss, reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity and improved cosmesis. In addition to reducing known morbidities from standard open-chest coronary artery bypass surgery, revascularization with the da Vinci Surgical System places the patient on an accelerated path to recovery. When combined with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in a hybrid approach, da Vinci Revascularization may also provide better outcomes than stenting alone, resulting in higher patency and lower re-intervention rates.
Thoracic Surgery. A number of surgical procedures performed in the thorax, or chest cavity, can be accomplished by minimally invasive methods. These methods are generally referred to as video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) surgery. Procedures performed via these methods include wedge resection, lobectomy, thymectomy, mediastinal mass excision and esophagectomy. They include various types of lung resection, biopsy procedures, node dissections, nerve resections and esophageal surgery. Conventional thoracoscopic tools have all the limitations of conventional laparoscopic tools, such as “backward” counter-intuitive movement and limited range of motion. We believe that the capability of our technology to operate dexterously in the small and restrictive space of the chest cavity offers significant clinical value in the performance of advanced thoracic surgical procedures like lobectomy. Use of the da Vinci System allows formal, anatomical resection, along with complete mediastinal lymph node dissection—the gold standard treatment for early stage non-small cell lung cancer. This approach provides effective treatment without the need for a formal thoracotomy (open technique), or facilitation-access mini-thoracotomy (video-assisted thoracic surgery or VATS technique).
Gastric Bypass. A growing number of patients are undergoing surgical treatment for their morbid obesity. Laparoscopic roux-en-Y gastric bypass, or LRYGB, is the most commonly performed surgical procedure for morbid obesity in the United States. Briefly, the LRYGB operation promotes weight loss by two mechanisms. First, the size of the stomach is greatly reduced by surgical “stapling”, thus restricting the amount of food the patient can consume at a given time. Second, a long segment of intestine is bypassed causing less food to be absorbed. The LRYGB is one of the most technically challenging laparoscopic procedures because of the suturing, stapling and tissue (bowel) manipulation that is required. A critical portion of the operation is anastomosing the stomach to the small intestine. Leaks in the anastomosis are the cause of major complications that can result in death. The da Vinci Surgical System is used by surgeons in suturing this anastomosis. We believe procedures performed with the da Vinci Surgical System incorporating a double-layered hand-sewn anastomosis results in fewer anastomotic leaks than in traditional laparoscopic procedures.
Low Anterior Resection. Low anterior resection (LAR) is a surgical procedure to treat rectal cancer. The surgeon dissects and removes the majority of the rectum, descending colon and a portion of healthy tissue and lymph nodes. Conventional laparoscopy is not widely employed to treat rectal cancer due to the high degree of difficulty. In fact, literature suggests that laparoscopic LAR may increase the rate of surgical complications and positive oncologic margins. Furthermore, pelvic nerve bundles that enable healthy bladder and sexual function may be compromised in both open and laparoscopic LAR procedures due to poor exposure, visualization and dexterity inherent in operating with conventional tools in a tight and deep surgical space. In contrast, the da Vinci Surgical System is a proven tool for performing precise cancer operations, with minimal complications, in the deep pelvis. As with da Vinci Prostatectomy, da Vinci Low Anterior Resection provides surgeons with greater dexterity, visualization and control when performing rectal cancer surgery as compared to open and laparoscopic approaches. We believe that da Vinci Low Anterior Resection not only enables a more precise operation with fewer complications and shorter recovery time, but may also improve oncologic outcomes.
Thyroidectomy. Thyroid cancer is most commonly treated by thyroidectomy, the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. Complete resection of the cancer and surrounding gland is required for proper oncologic outcomes. The surgeon must also precisely dissect and preserve an important nerve that sits deep to the gland in order to maintain proper voice function and spare the parathyroid glands that regulate calcium levels in the blood. For these reasons, open surgery is the dominant surgical approach. Endoscopic approaches with good functional outcomes have proven too difficult for the majority of surgeons. Open surgery however leaves a prominent and unsightly neck scar often as large as four to six centimeters. In Asia, surgeons are now using the da Vinci Surgical System to perform thyroidectomies from a remote site in the axilla (armpit). The precision, exposure and visualization achieved with the da Vinci Surgical System enables an endoscopic technique that is accessible to a broader set of surgeons. With da Vinci Thyroidectomy, surgeons are now able to offer their patients a procedure with no neck scar while maintaining the outcomes of open surgery for cancer control, voice preservation and calcium blood levels.
Head and Neck Surgery
Transoral Surgery. Head and neck cancer, which most often occurs in the throat due to prolonged tobacco and alcohol use, is treated by surgical resection or chemoradiation. Surgical resection is performed most often by an open approach, which at times requires a “jaw-splitting” mandibulotomy. This procedure, while effective in treating cancer, is traumatic and disfiguring to the patient and requires extensive recovery and rehabilitation. Minimally invasive approaches via the mouth (transoral surgery) have seen little adoption due to a high degree of difficulty and line-of-sight limitations of conventional endoscopic tools. While chemoradiation does allow patients to avoid traumatic surgical incisions, literature suggests that this modality diminishes patients’ ability to speak and swallow normally. da Vinci Transoral Surgery, on the other hand, allows surgeons to treat cancers occurring in the oropharynx (e.g., tonsil and base of tongue) and larynx via the mouth. The da Vinci Surgical System extends the ability to resect tumors transorally, avoiding in many cases an open approach via mandibulotomy. We believe that da Vinci Transoral Surgery provides a more precise platform for complete resection of cancers of the oral cavity and maximizes the preservation of healthy tissue to maintain normal speech and swallowing function resulting in reduced length of hospital stay and time in which the patient requires a feeding tube.
Additional Clinical Applications
We believe there are numerous additional applications that can be addressed with the da Vinci Surgical System. Surgeons using the da Vinci Surgical System have performed nearly 100 different types of surgery throughout the world.
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