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Automation has found its way within the healthcare segment with robotic surgeries being around for quite some time now. The first documented use of a robot during surgery dates back to 1985 when a neurosurgical biopsy was performed with the help of the PUMA 560 robotic surgical arm, as mentioned in a Robotic Oncology article. Robotic surgeries have come a long way since then and their usage is on the rise.
This is because robotic surgeries bring more benefits to the table than traditional surgeries. Surgeons are able to achieve more precision than is otherwise possible with human hands and can conveniently control the robots for enhanced movement, allowing them to perform more complicated surgeries. Thanks to onboard cameras, they can also get a better view while performing such surgeries.
Patients can also benefit from robotic surgery procedures as they are minimally invasive which means large incisions are not needed for operations. This leads to both lesser blood loss and pain, thereby significantly reducing their hospital stay as the healing process can be accelerated.
But the outbreak of the pandemic last year put a brake on surgical procedures as hospitals were compelled to postpone elective surgeries to protect frontline healthcare workers, causing difficulties for both patients and hospitals alike. However, robots have been regarded as an alternative with a research journal published by Springer Nature reaching the conclusion that artificial intelligence and robotic technology could be utilized to face pandemic-related challenges. In fact, the journal stated that contactless remote robotic surgery would be ideal for preventing the risk of contamination.
Another study published on May 28 by Wiley Online Library found that the early clinical experience of robotic surgery during the pandemic showed that “robotic surgery can be safely performed for patients and healthcare workers.”
Reflective of the benefits that robotic surgeries are offering to the healthcare segment, it is no surprise that the demand for surgical robots is expected to grow. Per a report by Grand View Research, the global surgical robots market is estimated to witness a CAGR of 21.6% from 2021 to 2028.
4 Stocks to Watch
The demand for surgical robots looks set to grow going forward as they are being preferred over traditional surgical methods in many cases as they offer more conveniences. This makes it a good time then to look at companies that stand to benefit from this potential. We have selected four such stocks that carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Asensus Surgical, Inc. ASXC, a medical device company, engages in the research, development and sale of medical device robotics to enhance minimally invasive surgery. On Sep 1, the company announced that it has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for expansion of machine vision capabilities on the previously cleared Intelligent Surgical Unit.
Shares of Asensus Surgical have risen 218.4% year to date and the company currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings improved 3.7% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 58.7%.
Stryker Corporation SYK offers Mako, a robotic-arm assisted surgery platform. The company’s MedSurg segment offers surgical equipment and surgical navigation systems among others, while its Neurotechnology and Spine segment provides neurotechnology products, which include products used for minimally invasive endovascular techniques, and so on.
Shares of Stryker have risen 12.7% year to date and it currently has a Zacks Rank #3. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 1.7% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 25.7%.
Medtronic plc MDT develops, manufactures, distributes and sells device-based medical therapies. The company’s Medical Surgical Portfolio segment offers surgical products, including surgical stapling devices, surgical artificial intelligence and robotic-assisted surgery products, among others. The Neuroscience Portfolio segment provides image-guided surgery and intra-operative imaging systems and robotic guidance systems used in robot-assisted spine procedures, and so on.
Shares of Zacks Rank #3 Medtronic have gained 11.5% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 0.4% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for next year is 10.7%.
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.’s ISRG da Vinci Surgical System includes surgeon's consoles, patient-side carts and 3D high definition vision systems, among others, enabling surgeons to perform various surgical procedures.
Shares of Intuitive Surgical have risen 27.7% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 0.5% over the past 60 days. This Zacks Rank #3 company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 45.7%.
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