kkleiner writes "Robotic surgery is experiencing explosive growth in America's operating rooms, and the unquestioned industry leader in this field is the DaVinci robot, made by Intuitive Surgical. Only 14% of prostate surgeries in the US last year took place not using the DaVinci. Installations have grown from 210 systems seven years ago to 1,395 today. Although typically used for smaller surgeries like prostate removal and hysterectomies, the system was recently used for a kidney transplant, and more complicated procedures are expected in the future. The DaVinci is really just the first wave of robotic surgery as technology continues to push clumsy human hands out of the operating room."
The article mentions some of the downsides, or perhaps the growing pains, of DaVinci robotic surgery: "According to a large study of Medicare patients, robotic prostate surgery led to fewer in-hospital complications, but had worse results for impotence and incontinence ..." Another company makes a simulator to train surgeons on the DaVinci. Embedded in the article is a 2009 TED talk on DaVinci by a surgeon.