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INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/02/2018
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Vinci Surgery is a cost effective approach to many surgeries as compared to alternative treatment options, as recognized in many published studies.
Clinical Applications
We are the beneficiaries of productive collaborations with leading surgeons in exploring and developing new techniques and applications for da Vinci Surgery—an important part of our creative process. We primarily focus our development efforts on those procedures in which we believe our products bring the highest patient value, surgeon value, and hospital value. We currently focus on five surgical specialties: gynecologic surgery, urologic surgery, general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and head and neck surgery. Key procedures which we are focused on include da Vinci Prostatectomy (“dVP”), da Vinci Hysterectomy (“dVH”), hernia repair, da Vinci Colon and Rectal procedures, da Vinci Partial Nephrectomy, da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy, da Vinci Mitral Valve Repair, da Vinci Lobectomy, and da Vinci Transoral Robotic Surgery. Representative surgical applications are described below.
Gynecologic Surgery
Hysterectomy. Removal of the uterus is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in gynecology and is performed for a variety of underlying benign and cancerous conditions. Hysterectomies can be performed using open surgery (laparotomy), or MIS techniques, which include vaginal, laparoscopic, and robotic approaches. Prior to the clearance of da Vinci Surgery for use in gynecological procedures in 2005, the majority of hysterectomies performed were open surgeries. We believe that da Vinci Surgery provides a large number of women the opportunity to receive a minimally invasive treatment as an alternative to an open hysterectomy. Hysterectomies for benign conditions can be performed using either multi-port or Single-Site technology and we estimate that a majority of da Vinci Surgery is performed using multi-port techniques. Single-Site instruments enable surgeons to perform surgery through a single port via the patient’s belly button, allowing for virtually scarless results.
Sacrocolpopexy. The abdominal (open) sacrocolpopexy is one of the most successful operations for vaginal vault prolapse. Sacrocolpopexy involves suturing a synthetic mesh that connects and supports the vagina to the sacrum (tailbone). A
sacrocolpopexy can be performed using a conventional laparoscopic technique; however, it is generally described as difficult and cumbersome to perform. Surgeons have reported that the da Vinci Surgical System’s capabilities may enable a large number of these procedures to be performed through a minimally invasive technique, conferring the benefits of MIS to a broader range of sacrocolpopexy patients.
Urologic Surgery
Prostatectomy. Radical prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate gland in patients diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer. The standard approach to removal of the prostate was via an open surgical procedure. The conventional laparoscopic approach is an option, but is difficult and poses challenges to even the most skilled urologist. The da Vinci Surgical System has enabled a large number of surgeons to convert from using an open surgical technique to a minimally invasive technique.
Partial Nephrectomy. Partial nephrectomy is the removal of a small portion of a kidney (typically, an area of the kidney containing a tumor). Partial nephrectomies are most commonly performed in patients diagnosed with clinically localized renal cancer. Excluding da Vinci Surgery, there are three common surgical approaches to performing partial nephrectomies: open surgical technique, laparoscopy, and hand assisted laparoscopy, which is a hybrid of the open and laparoscopic techniques. Surgeons have reported that the da Vinci Surgical System’s capabilities may enable a large number of these procedures to be performed through a minimally invasive technique, conferring the benefits of MIS to a broader range of partial nephrectomy patients. Treatment guidelines for patients with localized renal cancer recommend partial nephrectomy due to the benefits nephron-sparing surgery has in long-term patient outcomes. Published clinical literature has shown that the presence of a da Vinci Surgical System is associated with a higher-proportion of patients receiving a guideline-recommended partial nephrectomy.
General Surgery
Hernia Repair. A hernia occurs when an organ or other tissue squeezes through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue. During a hernia repair surgery, the weakened tissue is secured and defects are repaired. Common types of hernia are ventral and inguinal. Ventral, or abdominal hernia, may occur through a scar after surgery in the abdomen. Inguinal hernia is a bulge in the groin and is more common in men.  Hernia repair can be performed using traditional open surgery or MIS. There is a wide-range of complexity in hernia repair surgeries and varying surgeon opinion regarding optimal surgical approach. The benefits of minimally invasive and robotic hernia repair surgery vary by patient.
Colorectal Surgery. These procedures typically involve benign or cancerous conditions of the lower digestive system, in particular the rectum or colon. Common procedures in this area include hemicolectomy, sigmoidectomy, low anterior resection, and abdominoperineal resection. Surgeons have reported that the use of the da Vinci Surgery System and our latest technologies, such as the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, EndoWrist Stapler, and EndoWrist Vessel Sealer, have enabled them to offer MIS approaches to a broader range of colorectal surgery patients.
Cholecystectomy. Cholecystectomy, or the surgical removal of the gall bladder, is a commonly performed general surgery procedure. Cholecystectomy is the primary method for the treatment of gallstones and other gall bladder diseases. Most cholecystectomies are performed using multi-port MIS techniques, although some surgeons choose to perform cholecystectomy using manual single-port instrumentation. Using da Vinci Single-Site instruments, many of the technical challenges of manual single-port MIS are reduced as surgeons benefit from additional precision, control, and improved ergonomics. Multi-port da Vinci techniques are also being used for certain cases, and Firefly technology can be used to visualize biliary anatomy in three dimensions beneath tissue surfaces during Single-Site and multi-port da Vinci cholecystectomies.
Bariatric Surgery.  A body of literature points to the benefit of surgery to treat patients for morbid obesity and its secondary effects, such as diabetes. Sleeve gastrectomy and roux-en-Y gastric bypass (“RYGB”) are commonly performed surgical procedures for morbid obesity in the U.S. The body habitus of morbidly obese patients can make laparoscopic surgery physically challenging for the surgeon, and certain surgeons have found value in using the da Vinci Surgical System to improve upon the ergonomics when performing MIS in morbidly obese patients.  In addition, RYGB can be a technically challenging procedure because of the suturing, stapling, and tissue (bowel) manipulation that is required.  Surgeons using the da Vinci Surgical System have reported a reduction in a critical complication (anastomotic leaks) relative to laparoscopic RYGB.
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Thoracic Surgery. Conventional approaches to surgical procedures in the thorax include both open and video-assisted thoracoscopic approaches. Procedures performed via these methods include pulmonary wedge resection, pulmonary lobectomy, thymectomy, mediastinal mass excision, and esophagectomy. Many thoracic procedures remain open procedures. Surgeons have reported that the use of the da Vinci Surgery System in thoracic surgery has enabled them to offer MIS approaches to a broader range of thoracic surgery patients and improved clinical outcomes compared to open and video-


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