Support the news

Paging Dr. 3PO: The Rise of Robotic Surgery07:29
Download

Play
This article is more than 8 years old.
Dr. Greg Zagaja, center, prepares to perform a robotic prostatectomy on a patient at University of Chicago Medical Center using a da Vinci Si robotics system in Oct., 2009. (AP)
Dr. Greg Zagaja, center, prepares to perform a robotic prostatectomy on a patient at University of Chicago Medical Center using a da Vinci Si robotics system in Oct., 2009. (AP)

You may have heard the ads recently. Radio and TV spots celebrating the technological triumphs of robotic surgery.

Robotic assisted surgery, as its more formally known, is a fast growing field of medicine. There are approximately 1400 hospitals and medical centers across the country performing robotic surgeries, and in the past four years alone, the number of procedures performed has grown by 400 percent.

Many of the most ambitious robotic surgeries are taking place in Massachusetts. Carey Goldberg, co-host of WBUR's CommonHealth blog, recently posted a story about a patient at Brigham and Women's hospital who had a uterine fibroid as large as a cantaloupe. It was successfully removed using robotic assisted surgery. She happily got pregnant just five months later.

The fast rise of robotic surgery does have a downside. It's very, very expensive. The marriage of cost and medical wizardry makes robotic surgery a perfect poster child for the central conundrum of American healthcare.

Guest:

More:

This segment aired on June 14, 2011.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news