How much does a surgical robot cost? Why is it so expensive?


The modern technological revolution has brought about changes in healthcare that are reflected in many aspects, and surgical robots are one of the representatives. Designed to perform a variety of complex, minimally invasive surgeries, the Perlove Medical Surgical Robot consists of three main components: a surgeon console, a bedside robotic arm system, and an imaging system.

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  1. Cost-effectiveness: Ensure your investment yields efficient, cost-saving surgeries.
  2. Advanced features: Explore cutting-edge technology for precise, minimally invasive procedures.
  3. Warranty and support: Secure reliable assistance and maintenance services for uninterrupted performance.
  4. Training programs: Access comprehensive training to maximize utilization and expertise in robotic surgery.

Robot-assisted surgery offers many advantages, including more precise surgical maneuvers, lower bleeding, and shorter post-operative recovery cycles. Despite the huge success of surgical robots in the medical field, their price has been a major constraint to their popularity.

So, How Much Does A Surgical Robot Cost?

Surgical robot prices vary depending on the brand, quality, model and features. Currently, the average product price of da Vinci surgical robots is about 23 million yuan, plus consumables and maintenance costs, the cost of each operation is more than 40,000 yuan (See the figure below for detailed calculation methods). In comparison, China’s surgical robots cost is between 14 and 17 million yuan.

surgical robot operation cost

Each Surgical Robot Operation Cost Is About 44000 Yuan

Surgical Robot Procurement Costs
The price of the da Vinci surgical robot in China is 20-30 million yuan, (the average price overseas is 1.5 million dollars). Assuming eight years of depreciation, the annual depreciation expense is 3 million yuan.

Maintenance Cost
The annual maintenance fee is more than 1.5 million yuan (the average price overseas is 120,000-140,000 dollars).

Start-up Cost
Calculated based on 250 cases per year, 450/250 = 18,000 yuan per case.

Endowrist Consumables Cost
Disposable consumables for surgical robots cost $533/set, including robot arm cover, lens arm cover, monitor cover and casing sealing cap. Special multiple-use instruments cost $400~1,000/item every time (In most cases, special reusable instruments can be used 10 times). According to clinical applications, in each operation, 3~7 special multiple-use instruments are required. The average cost of multiple-use special instruments and disposable consumables per operation is approximately 25,900 yuan.

Thus, Each Operation Cost Is About 44000 Yuan.

Why Are Surgical Robots So Expensive?

First of all, surgical robots require long-term research and development and must undergo rigorous approval processes. The high costs of research and development and the expenses required for various certifications and approvals contribute to the high cost of surgical robots.

Second, Intuitive Surgical USA holds hundreds of patents covering all kinds of surgical robotics. It holds the rights to the commercial operations and revenues of its surgical robot technology. It protects the intellectual property rights of its products in a variety of ways, effectively preventing patent intrusion by other companies.

In addition, the production cost of surgical robot manufacturing is also very high and the market size is relatively small, further increasing the cost of the business.

Overall, the high cost of surgical robots primarily stems from factors such as high technological barriers, complex approval processes, rigid patent control, and production costs.

In China’s policy all the way to the green light of the background, the domestic surgical robot industry ushered in a major opportunity. 2023 January, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other seventeen departments jointly issued the “Robot +” application of the implementation of the program of notice. In the field of health care, it is proposed that “encourage hospitals with conditions and needs to use robots to carry out precise and minimally invasive surgery, build standardized operating rooms for robotic applications, and study the standard specifications for the clinical application of surgical robots.” It can be seen that the surgical robot related industry policy tends to relaxation, fourteen five years during the number of surgical robot configuration is expected to further liberalization. In addition, with the gradual expiration of da Vinci robot patents, robotics track entrants will have more opportunities for development.

At present, Shanghai, Beijing, Hunan, Guangdong, Jiangxi and other provinces and cities have been surgical robots and related consumables and other items into the scope of payment of medical insurance, surgical robots clinical penetration will be further enhanced. Domestic surgical robots are expected to gradually replace imported products with low price and high technology.This results in “da Vinci” surgical robots being imported into China at prices more than double that of other expensive items.

Against the backdrop of policies in China consistently favoring the development of surgical robotics, China’s surgical robotics industry is encountering significant opportunities.

In January 2023, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, along with seventeen other departments, issued a notice on the implementation plan for “Robot +” applications. In the field of healthcare, the plan encourages hospitals with conditions and needs to use robots for precise minimally invasive surgeries, establish standardized robotic surgery rooms, and research clinical application standards for surgical robots. It can be observed that policies related to surgical robots are becoming more relaxed, and the number of surgical robot installations is expected to increase further during the 14th Five-Year Plan period. Additionally, as the expiration time of the patents for Da Vinci robots is approaching, there will be more opportunities for newcomers in the robotics field.

Currently, provinces and cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Hunan, Guangdong, and Jiangxi have included surgical robots and related surgical consumables in the scope of medical insurance payments, which will further increase the clinical adoption rate of surgical robots. China’s surgical robots are expected to gradually replace imported surgical robots that are low-priced but high in technological content.

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