Florida Hos­pi­tal

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Naseem S. Miller Staff Writer nmiller@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com, 407-420-5158 or Twit­ter: @naseem­miller

is the first in the na­tion to buy a ro­botic sys­tem for min­i­mally in­va­sive surg­eries in the ab­domen that uses eye­track­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Florida Hos­pi­tal is the first in the na­tion to buy a ro­botic sys­tem for min­i­mally in­va­sive surg­eries in the ab­domen that uses eye­track­ing tech­nol­ogy, al­low­ing sur­geons to con­trol the la­paro­scopic cam­era with their eyes.

The an­nounce­ment about the sale of the Sen­hance Sur­gi­cal Sys­tem caught in­vestors’ at­ten­tion ear­lier this week, be­cause it’s the ro­bot’s first com­mer­cial use in the United States, and it is the first ro­botic sys­tem to re­ceive the U.S. govern­ment’s ap­proval in the past two decades, since the now well-known da Vinci ro­bot was ap­proved.

“We haven’t thrown away our other ro­bots, but we look at this as an ab­so­lutely new be­gin­ning in sur­gi­cal robotics,” said Dr. Steve Eubanks, ex­ec­u­tive med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the Florida Hos­pi­tal In­sti­tute for Sur­gi­cal Ad­vance­ment.

The ro­bot has been in de­vel­op­ment for about a decade and be­came com­mer­cially avail­able in sev­eral coun­tries in Europe and Asia late last year. The com­pany has sold fewer than 10 ro­bots over­seas so far, of­fi­cials said.

It’s too soon to say whether pa­tients who un­dergo pro­ce­dures such as her­nia surgery, gall­blad­der re­moval and col­orec­tal and gy­ne­co­log­i­cal pro­ce­dures with Sen­hance will have bet­ter out­comes com­pared with those who un­dergo a tra­di­tional la­paro­scopic pro­ce­dure or with an­other ro­botic sys­tem.

When com­par­ing the ex­ist­ing ro­botic sys­tems and non-ro­botic surgery, stud­ies have found sim­i­lar out­comes in pa­tients, while show­ing ro­botic pro­ce­dures were as­so­ci­ated with higher costs.

“[The ro­bot] seems shiny and ex­cit­ing, but shiny and ex­cit­ing is not al­ways bet­ter,” said Dr. Sherry Glied, pro­fes­sor and dean of New York Univer­sity’s Robert F. Wag­ner Grad­u­ate School of Pub­lic Ser­vice. “One thing we know is that these things are ex­pen­sive, and they have to be paid for.”

In or­der to get clear­ance from the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the de­vice maker had to show that its prod­uct is at least as safe and ef­fec­tive as what’s al­ready avail­able in the mar­ket.

The de­vice is made by the North-Carolina-based com­pany Tran­sEn­terix and costs be­tween $1 mil­lion and $1.5 mil­lion.

The com­pany in­stalled a Sen­hance Sur­gi­cal Ro­bot at Florida Hos­pi­tal ear­lier this year for train­ing and re­search pur­poses, be­fore it re­ceived the FDA clear­ance in Oc­to­ber.

Tran­sEn­terix and its early adopters like Eubanks at Florida Hos­pi­tal say that in com­par­i­son to the main ro­botic sys­tem in the mar­ket, Sen­hance costs less and has a shorter set-up time, which means shorter pro­ce­dure time.

But when look­ing at the over­all cost — in­clud­ing the de­vice, ser­vice con­tracts and other fac­tors — the ro­botic surgery will cost more than a non-ro­botic la­paro­scopic surgery, he said.

“So even­tu­ally it has to prove su­pe­ri­or­ity to la­paro­scopic surgery, other­wise we’re not adding value,” Eubanks said.

The hos­pi­tal plans to of­fer the pro­ce­dure start­ing next month.

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