Increase in Robotic Surgery, Subsequent Injuries Linked to Aggressive Marketing

Robotic surgery enables doctors to perform surgery using robotically controlled instruments and 3-D imaging. It is commonly used for hysterectomies, gall bladder removal, prostate cancer treatment, heart valve operations, and various soft tissue operations. Although proponents of robotic surgery have made claims that the robotic approach offers numerous advantages over other forms of surgery – including minimally invasive options – several recent studies have found that robotic hysterectomy surgery offers no added benefits.

Robotic Surgery on the Rise

Because advocates of robotic surgery are so vocal about promoting the approach, robotic surgeries, which include robotic hysterectomies, are on the rise. Since 2010, U.S. hospitals have used robotics in more than 350,000 operations – a 60% increase. A Bloomberg article published earlier this week, Robot Surgery Damaging Patients Rises with Marketing, further unearths startling revelations about robotic surgery; the rise in robotic surgery is strongly tied to the aggressive marketing tactics of doctors, hospitals, and manufacturers of robotic surgical equipment.

More Surgeries Linked to Misleading Ads

In the article, it is stated that despite researchers' findings that robotic surgery has no added benefits, advertisements and marketing still hyped advantages and claimed benefits without proof. Additionally, it was discovered that while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully regulates advertising for food products and medications, the division responsible for regulating the marketing of medical devices had only two full-time employees – compared to the more than 60 employees monitoring prescription drug advertisements.

In short, the complexity of robotic medical devices makes them difficult for consumers to fully understand how they operate. It also makes safety and efficacy claims difficult to evaluate. When you also consider the lack of regulatory enforcement of medical device ads, it becomes clear that hospitals and device manufacturers have ample room to create advertisements that are misleading.

And misleading ads are not only unethical; they can also be dangerous for consumers. As stated in the article, reports of adverse events related to robotic surgery have steadily increased. Since 2009, there have been 70 reported deaths related to robotic surgery. Reports of injuries have also more than doubled in the first eight months of this year, compared to the same period in the previous year.

The Importance of Exploring Your Options

What does all this mean to you – a consumer, a patient, and an individual in need of treatment that can help you live a happier and healthier life? It means, at the very core, that big business and the interests of money are here to stay. You are a consumer, and unfortunately, large corporations – including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies – infuse a great deal of money into making people just like you spend theirs.

The reports of misleading marketing help highlight the fact that you should be cautious of overstated claims – for hysterectomy surgery and for any other major purchase you make. It means that you should take steps of your own to find the information and support your need – two things you can find with the community at

You can read the full Bloomberg article or complete a contact form to find more information about this topic.