Robots may not be the most effective surgical tools compared to regular minimally invasive surgery, according to new research from Columbia University in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The technology is more expensive and has a higher rate of complications when removing ovaries and ovarian cysts, according to an article on the study in the Wall Street Journal.
In a report published in the same journal last year, similar results were found for robotics surgery for hysterectomies as compared to regular laparoscopic surgery.
“There’s a widespread belief that newer is better but our findings question that. People need to stop and critically analyze whether using this expensive technology will really add any benefit for patients,” Jason D. Wright, lead author of the more recent study, told the Wall Street Journal.
Hospitals also often overplay robotic surgery, marketing words like “state-of-the-art,” “cutting-edge” and “first robots,” although those claims might be unsubstantiated,FierceHealthcare previously reported.
The creator of the da Vinci robot reviewed in the studies–Intuitive Surgical Inc.–told the WSJ that surgeons and patients choose to use it “because it can lead to fewer complications and shorter hospital stays.”
However, sales of the machines have been unstable recently because of concerns about safety and cost-effectiveness, according to the article.
In addition, hospitals that adopt the technology often do so because neighboring facilities also have it. In research published in the journal Healthcare in July, the author’s looked at the data from sales of Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot and found that a hospital whose neighbor had acquired the robot was more likely to also get one.