Medtronic offers hints about upcoming surgical robot

Mazor X Stealth

Mazor X Stealth robot-assisted spinal surgery system. Source: Medtronic

Medtronic PLC won’t unveil its new robot-assisted surgery platform until the fall, but a recent announcement from the company offered a sneak peek at what’s coming.

The medical device giant this week disclosed a partnership with Karl Storz SE & Co. in Tuttlingen, Germany. Medtronic plans to incorporate Karl Storz’s three-dimensional vision systems and visualization components into its surgical robotics system.

“Visualization is critical to the successful execution of robotic-assisted surgeries and minimally invasive surgeries,” said Megan Rosengarten, vice president and general manager of Medtronic’s surgical robotics business.

“As we developed our robotic platform, we led with surgeons’ input to design a flexible surgical system that meets their needs and the needs of patients around the globe,” she said. “Surgeons can be confident our robotic-assisted platform will provide market-leading 3D visualization technology combined with best-in-class surgical stapling and energy instruments.”

Medtronic works to get back on track

Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic has sought to give Intuitive Surgical a run for its money as the leader of the robot-assisted surgery space, but the company announced in early 2018 that its surgical robotics effort had fallen behind schedule.

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told analysts in a May earnings call to expect an analyst event in the fall to show off the new robot. Ishrak said the plan is to initially launch the robot outside the U.S. during the present fiscal year.

The company is already active in the robot-assisted spine surgery space after its $1.7 billion purchase of Mazor Robotics in December 2018. A month later, Medtronic launched its Mazor X Stealth spinal surgery system in the U.S.

The Mazor X Stealth combines robotic guidance system technology from the Mazor acquisition with Medtronic’s StealthStation surgical navigation technology. Dave Anderson, vice president and general manager of enabling technologies at Medtronic, recently spoke with sibling site Medical Design & Outsourcing about the Mazor X Stealth.

Ishrak noted during the May earnings call that the Mazor robot has already started to drive neurosurgery business growth, as well as increased demand for core spine implants.