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Robotic surgery dates only to the early 1990s. Since its approval by the FDA in 2000, more than a million robotic surgeries have been performed with the da Vinci Surgical System alone. Surgical robots can be a technological boon, allowing for precise surgical movements impossible to achieve with the human hand, and they are increasingly common during prostate cancer procedures and hysterectomies. However, problems are arising.
With a high-profile 2013 da Vinci recall garnering attention, some wonder if robotic surgeries are over-prescribed. While hospitals clamor to meet the “technology curve,” promoting this latest robot-assisted surgical approach, device failure and what some speculate to be a lack of adequate surgeon training have caused problems for trusting patients. The results can be devastating, as any review of the major media coverage can attest.