Health News Review
  • Jul 18 2013

    Robotic Surgery Roundup: Take Me Out To The Ballgame and much more

    Robotic surgery systems are spreading so quickly across the US and across the globe that trying to keep up with the news could become a fulltime beat.  Here are just a few nuggets in an attempt to catch up on things you may have missed. The Reading (PA) Eagle reports, “Fans test surgical robot at baseball game.” Excerpts: “Fans at FirstEnergy Stadium got the chance to try Reading Hospital’s da Vinci surgical robot before …

  • Jul 22 2014

    Robotic roundup: Useful? Or little clinical value?…”robotic invasion”…outpaces evidence

    Here’s another of our periodic roundups of robotic surgery news, some of which doesn’t get much attention in the mainstream news media. Forbes has hosted a little back-and-forth about robotic surgery in recent weeks.  First, Robert Pearl, MD, chief executive of the Permanente Medical Group, included a discussion of robotic surgery in his piece, “America’s Broken Health Care System: The Role of Drug, Device Manufacturers.&…

  • May 30 2013

    To a man with a new hammer….marketing claims of robotic “firsts” piling up

    Health care marketing of robotic surgery systems knows no bounds.  At the end of this piece, you can see a list of past posts on this marketing trend. Besides the explosive use in prostate surgery, we’ve seen promotions of robotic “firsts” for: first robotic cholecystectomy first TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) to treat sleep apnea first hybrid revascularization, which combines the robotic single-vessel small thoracotomy proc…

  • Jul 30 2011

    Surgeon blogs that robotic surgery is all hype and no substance

    The surgeon who blogs as Skeptical Scalpel writes that he (she?) is unable to contain him(her)self any longer and then lunges into a review of evidence (or lack thereof) for robotic surgery. You may disagree with Skeptical Scalpel’s decision to be anonymous, but he/she explains: “I’ve been a surgeon for almost 40 years and a surgical department chairman for over 23 of those years. During much of that time, conforming to the n…

  • Oct 3 2012

    How robotic surgery is promoted on the other side of the globe

    Somehow someone added me to the mailing list for news releases from a hospital in Mumbai.  How/why this happens, one can only guess. But if they’re going to send ‘em, I may write about ‘em – even though maybe not with the slant the PR folks wanted. The latest news release from them sheds light on how robotic surgery is promoted in other places. Excerpts of the news release: Fastest 50 Robotic Surgeries In 70 days, the spe…

  • Mar 7 2014

    Robotic surgery roundup: great small paper journalism, new marketing/ad campaigns

    …as just one indication of the difference one individual can make, no matter the size of the news organization. In part one, “Robot surgery is here to stay,” he discusses important issues of the marketing blitz for robotic surgery, a lack of data, and a long learning curve for surgeons. In part two, “Robotic surgery may raise costs,” he explains how there are incentives for doctors to do robotic surgery because Medicare pay…

  • Aug 22 2013

    Medscape asks: “Robotic Surgery: Too Much, Too Soon?”

    On Medscape, an editor and a surgeon published a slide show series entitled “Robotic Surgery:  Too Much, Too Soon?“  (You need to register in order to see it).  Some excerpts: Is Insufficient Training a Serious Problem With Robotic Surgery? Intuitive Surgical is currently facing various lawsuits involving improperly trained surgeons. In a Medscape interview, J. Kellogg Parsons, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Department of Urolo…

  • Mar 26 2013

    Robotic surgery safety/marketing concerns in Boston Globe & NY Times stories

    …llboards. The hospitals now say they are reviewing some of their marketing activities. What is odd is that the Massachusetts officials, according to the Globe, would not provide the data about how many patient injuries during robotic surgery had occurred over the past two years – only that the problem was increasing. In a piece headlined, “Salesmen in the Surgical Suite,” The New York Times reports on a man who had “roboti…

  • Jan 4 2012

    “Gizmo idolatry,” robotic prostatectomy, and real data

    Robotic prostatectomy has spread all over the US despite the fact that we don’t have clinical trial data to show that it’s better than traditional open surgery.  The marketing of the new, the high-tech, is amplified by news coverage that uses headlines such as the following: Robot doctor – surgery of tomorrow Da Vinci puts magical touch on the prostate Cancer survivors meet lifesaving surgical robot Robotic surgeon’s han…

  • Sep 10 2013

    Roundup of robotic surgery news – colorectal, endometrial, hysterectomy

    As we’ve previously noted, with the explosive proliferation of robotic surgery systems in the US, it requires almost fulltime attention on a fulltime beat in order to stay on top of what is published about robotics.  I can’t devote that kind of fulltime attention.  But from time to time, I post research results that catch my eye.  So here’s another periodic robotics roundup: Bloomberg News reports on a paper in the journal Obst…




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