OPINION: Robotic surgery in urological oncology: patient care or market share?

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Abstract

Surgical robotic use has grown exponentially in spite of limited or uncertain benefits and large costs. In certain situations, adoption of robotic technology provides value to patients and society. In other cases, however, the robot provides little or no increase in surgical quality, with increased expense, and, therefore, does not add value to health care. The surgical robot is expensive to purchase, maintain and operate, and can contribute to increased consumerism in relation to surgical procedures, and increased reliance on the technology, thus driving future increases in health-care expenditure. Given the current need for budget constraints, the cost-effectiveness of specific procedures must be evaluated. The surgical robot should be used when cost-effective, but traditional open and laparoscopic techniques also need to be continually fostered.

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