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Robotic surgery markets are growing faster than humans can handle

With the development of increasingly advanced AI, even high-level surgeons may find themselves replaced by robots as AI exceeds human abilities. The robotic surgery market has been booming globally, despite a lag in the number of surgeons qualified to operate devices like the Da Vinci Surgical System. However, the advent of AI might eliminate this problem altogether as AI overtakes the need to train new surgeons at all.

From 2018-2025, the robotic surgery industry is expected to see 18% growth, exceeding $1bn by 2020. Educating surgeons in operating robotic surgical devices is a costly endeavor, involving deep anatomical knowledge, cultivating experience with patients, and long periods of practice with the robotic devices.

Recent studies have brought to light how ill equipped hospitals are for training new robotic surgeons, with residents “shadow learning,” or seeking alternative methods of learning outside of their residency in order to build their skillset. Not only are expert surgeons reluctant to allow trainees time building hands on experience with the robots, hospitals are investing less in simulator software that provides young surgeons the opportunity to practice operating robotic surgical systems. In recent years, purchases of skill simulator software has fallen 20%.

Although independent robotic surgery is still in development, technology is improving so quickly it may overtake an already lagging niche for human surgeons. The market for robotic surgical systems will continue to grow in the forecast years, with minimally invasive surgical devices becoming more popular globally. Devices such as automated suturing devices will also see growth as robotic precision continues to be in demand.