Competition Intensifying in Japan Surgical Robot Market


Tokyo, Feb. 8 (Jiji Press)--The surgical robot market in Japan, which has been dominated by a U.S. maker, is starting to see competition intensify with the launches of domestic products.

Robot-assisted surgery causes less damage on the patient's body as robots can perform tasks with more precision than human hands.

More and more surgeries using robots have been covered by public health insurance in Japan in recent years. If prices fall as a result of growing competition, this may help spread the use of such robots.

In surgery using a robot, several small holes are drilled into the body of a patient, and flexible devices are inserted through the holes. A doctor controls the robot while watching a large 3D image. The robot-assisted surgeries have a lower risk of bleeding and leave only small scars on the patient's body.

The "da Vinci" system of U.S. firm Intuitive Surgical Inc. has an overwhelming share of the global surgical robot market. The system received regulatory approval in Japan in 2009, and a total of 29 types of surgery, mainly for cancer, are currently covered by public health insurance. Some 570 da Vinci robots are now deployed at medical facilities across Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press