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Robot-Assisted Surgery Gains Momentum Amid Coronavirus

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We are heading toward the end of this tumultuous year, with the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic still ambiguous thanks to the resurgence of cases. The effects of the pandemic are being brutally felt in the medical space, as the postponement and cancellation of elective surgeries are not only troubling patients but also dealing a blow to companies that generate a major portion of their revenues from such procedures.

With the markets behaving unpredictably, investors are bound to feel jittery. However, robotic-assisted surgery is one space that might be rewarding for the investors during these difficult times and beyond. Let us delve deeper and analyze the factors that can boost prospects of this space amid the pandemic.

Robotic-Assisted Surgery: Need of the Hour

The clinical advantages and importance of robot-assisted surgery have never been more pronounced than during this pandemic, and the trend is likely to sustain beyond it. Not only does robotic surgery lead to improved clinical outcomes for patients but also results in lower rates of conversion to laparotomy. Now laparotomy is related to increased length of hospital stay that puts patients and health care providers at unnecessarily high risk of COVID-19 transmission. Here robotic surgery can help limit the transmission of the virus, thereby keeping the spread in check.

Moreover, increased adoption of robotic surgery can lower the use of hospital resources, which is crucial amid such a crisis. This type of surgery can help in minimizing cost, and reducing postoperative recovery time and immediate post-surgical pain and infection rates. That’s not all. Apart from the benefit of low complication rates, the decrease in surgical complications can aid in keeping patients outside of the health care systems and emergency rooms.

By taking the robotic-assisted surgery route, people who are COVID-19 negative can be kept away from high risk areas. Also, if there is unavailability of testing, then this kind of surgery provides the quickest and most effective way to undertake non-emergency procedures with minimal risk to personnel, thereby allowing patients to return home quickly.

For instance, in July, Smith & Nephew (SNN - Free Report) launched a hand-held robotic platform, Cori, for knee replacement surgery that has been built to facilitate faster procedure times compared to its current Navio robotic system. The new surgical system, which received FDA 510(k) clearance in February, incorporates the company’s Real Intelligence software for pre-operative planning, surgery and post-operative assessment. This puts the company in a better position during this crisis, thereby instills investor confidence in the stock.

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Stryker Corporation (SYK - Free Report) continued to witness strong demand for Mako — its robotic-arm assisted surgery platform — backed by its unique features and healthy order book despite financial constraints stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This, in turn, positions the company well to sustain momentum in robot sales and recon share market gains. For 2020, the company’s Mako order book remains solid and is in sync with its aim of continued share gains in both hips and knees. In fact, in second-quarter 2020, the company saw a promising number of Mako installations in the United States. For 2021, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $15.95 billion, suggesting an improvement of 14.3% from the previous year.

Over the past three months, shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 15.9%, compared with the industry’s growth of 8.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Accuray Incorporated (ARAY - Free Report) introduced the CyberKnife S7 System — the next generation CyberKnife platform — in June 2020. It is the only robotic radiosurgery system, which can deliver non-surgical stereotactic treatments with sub-millimeter accuracy anywhere in the body. This new CyberKnife technology is the most recent instance of the company’s innovation in radiation therapy that enables healthcare providers in offering best care to patients on new capabilities. For fiscal 2021, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $413.6 million, indicating an improvement of 14% from the prior year.

Over the past three months, shares of the Zacks Rank #3 company have gained 32.7%, compared with the industry’s growth of 8.7%.

Intuitive Surgical, Inc.’s (ISRG - Free Report) robot-based da Vinci surgical system enables minimally-invasive surgery that reduces the trauma associated with open surgery. Despite tough procedural volume scenario, Intuitive Surgical placed 5764 da Vinci surgical systems in the second quarter, with the installed base growing 9% year over year.

Moreover, during the second quarter, the Zacks Rank #3 company unveiled its Extended Use Program that represents some of its higher volume instruments that can be utilized across numerous da Vinci surgeries. Additionally, the company announced that it is making progress on its flexible robotics platform, which is aimed at addressing the acute need in diagnosis of lung cancer. For 2021, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $4.95 billion, suggesting growth of 20.1% from the previous year.

Shares of the company have gained 20.3% over the past three months, compared with the industry’s growth of 8.7%.

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