Number of adverse events linked to robotic surgeries on the rise

Robotic surgery is often touted as a better alternative to traditional surgery, giving doctors greater visibility and precision which translates to smaller incisions and less pain and discomfort for patients. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Surgical errors still occur when a physician uses a robotic devise to perform various procedures.

Aggressive marketing by the manufacturer of robotic surgery devices has led to an increase in the demand, as medical professionals are trying to gain any type of advantage they can over competitors. While training on the devices is available for the surgeons who use them, it is not mandatory. Two urologists went on record in an FDA report, stating that there was a direct correlation between patient safety and surgeons’ training on the robotic devices. Incident reports released by the FDA suggest that the number of adverse events from robot-assisted surgery is on the rise. Some of the problems associated with robotic surgeries include temporary nerve damage, reversible limb palsy, bowl perforation and loss of peripheral vision. Fatalities can also occur. As of November 3 of this year, 3,697 adverse events were reported; only 1,595 were reported during the entire year of 2012. Not all incidents are necessarily a direct result of inexperience, however. Many surgeons have reported having problems with the robotic arms, and only a few knew that there have been recalls associated with the robot.

If you have suffered a serious injury during a robot-assisted surgical procedure, you may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney in Pittsburgh regarding the unique circumstances of your case. If it can be proven that a doctor’s lack of training or a malfunctioning robot caused the injury, you could be entitled to compensation.

Source:, “Robot Surgical Incidents May Pressure Hospital Training,” Robert Langreth, Nov. 11, 2013.