With automation swiftly picking up as a trend across sectors, India’s surgical robotics market is estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 per cent between 2017 and 2025 to hit the size of $350 million, compared with $64.9 million in 2016. Among some of the key triggers for this growth will be the increasing incidence rate of chronic diseases, a rise in geriatric population, and more demand of advanced technologies, including minimally invasive surgeries and miniature robotics. Further, there is likely to be a substantial push coming in the form of funding from various governmental organisations for research & development (R&D) activities in the next-generation surgical robotic systems. A new marketing intelligence report by BIS Research suggests that the prospects for the surgical robotics market in India in the coming years would be significantly higher than the global average – it estimates the global market would expand at 12 per cent to touch $12.6 billion, against India’s 20 per cent rate during the same period. At present, India has over 50 players in the market, with Intuitive Surgical Inc, Accuray Inc, Mazor Robotics Ltd Medrobotics Corporation, Medtech SA, Renishaw plc, Stryker Corporation, Synaptive Medical Inc and Titan Medical Inc being some of the major players. California, US-based Intuitive Surgical's minimal invasive surgery product da Vinci surgical system, with as many as 1,123 installation units by 2025 – an expansion of eight per cent CAGR – is expected to be the most installed surgical robotic system in India. The da Vinci surgical system, which had the highest market share in 2016 in value terms, is expected to grow at 10.9 per cent CAGR during the 2017-2025 period. Abdul Wahid, lead analyst at BIS Research, says: “With the advent of technologically advanced surgical robotic systems, the global market is expected to grow substantially to help healthcare professionals undertake surgeries for people with gynecological, urological, orthopaedics, neurological and orthopaedic disorders. The growth seen in India’s healthcare industry, especially with the coming of corporate hospital chains like Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare, Max Healthcare and others, is another factor that is expected to boost the surgical robotics market in the country. Apollo Hospitals had earlier said that surgeries conducted with robots increased accuracy levels and reduced the need for more surgeons in the operation theatre, thereby allowing hospitals to provide care to more people. Among the benefits of the robotic surgery treatment over open surgery are a shorter hospitalisation duration, lower post-surgery discomfort, faster recovery time and return to normalcy, smaller incisions resulting in reduced infection risks, reduced blood loss and 10 per cent less transfusions, and minimal surgical scarring on the body, the report says. The next level of technological advances, the report says, might completely remove human contact during surgeries. The future robotic surgery systems might allow a greater distance between surgeons’ control console and the patient.
Simply put, that means it would be possible to conduct robotic surgeries with the patient in a nearby clean room without any human contact or interference. Such a technology would further reduce the chances of intraoperative infections.The more advanced robotic surgery systems of the future would be capable of replicating the tactile feel and sensation a surgeon experiences during the traditional invasive procedures. That would enable surgeons to gain better precision and advantages of minimally invasive procedures. Also, these could be done without losing the sensory information that helps in making judgements during robotic surgeries.