Robotics in healthcare was a futuristic setting on television where people with wounds or sickness are attended to by a robot, instead of a human doctor. This is now a reality in many hospitals and other medical facilities as robots have become an essential extension of healthcare workers. Medical robots can perform surgeries, deliver medicine, and disinfect rooms in mere minutes. They don’t get tired and they offer outstanding precision unattainable by humans’ range of movement. Moreover, lower-level and repetitive tasks in hospitals can now be automated thanks to the use of medical robots, giving healthcare workers the opportunity to up-skill themselves and focus more on their patients' conditions.
The concept of combining robotics and medical technology has been around since the 1950s, but it took more than 30 years for it to be executed. In 1985, the first surgical robot, PUMA 560, was used to inject a needle into the human brain for a biopsy procedure, a process that poses a high risk of error when done by human hands. Since then, medical robotics technology has shown tremendous development. Robots are now commonly used in procedures such as prostate cancer surgery, hysterectomy, laparoscopy, and even liver transplant.
Different types of medical robot
Outside the operating room, medical robots are being used for many other applications. They can be categorized based on their specific applications. Following this, below is a list of some of the most popular type of medical robots.
|Surgical robots||Perform high-precision surgical procedures.|
|Rehabilitation robots||Facilitate and support people with bodily dysfunction to practice movements with robotic aid.|
|Robotic prosthetics||Artificial limbs designed to restore a degree of normal function to amputees. They use advanced technologies to provide more natural and sophisticated motions to the user.|
|Non-invasive surgery robots||Offer precise, painless, non-invasive radiation treatment.|
|Pharmacy robots||Dispense medicine, disinfect rooms, handle storing, filling, and labeling of prescriptions.|
|Emergency response robotics system||An autonomous robotic platform capable of undertaking surgical intervention at a rescue site where victims found may require immediate intervention.|
|Logistics robotics system||Automate the process of storing and moving goods as they make their way around medical facilities.|
|Telemedicine robotics system||Enable health consultants to see, hear, and speak with patients remotely as if they were at their bedside.|
|Diagnostic and imaging robotic systems||Improve positioning, navigation, and offer a more intuitive visualization in various imaging procedures such as sonography.|
Medical robots market size
The medical robots market value was estimated at around USD 18.1 billion in 2022, as reported by the market research firm, Apollo Research Reports. With a projected acceleration at a 16.6% CAGR, the medical robotics market opportunity is anticipated to expand, reaching a value of USD 83.1 billion by 2032. The increasing application of robotics in healthcare, combined with advancements in robotics technology, is expected to drive this substantial growth in the medical robot market.
North America, spearheaded by the US, is ahead of other regions in terms of market size with USD 6.3 billion worth of market value in 2022. Asia Pacific and Europe tagged behind each contributing USD 4.9 billion and USD 4.7 billion to the total market.
By 2032, though, APAC is expected to lead the market, taking over North America leadership as the market grows at a 19.1% CAGR, the fastest among all regions — to hit USD 29.9 billion, which is 8 billion more than North America's market value. Rapid market growth in China, India, and Singapore is driving the region towards a leadership position.
The US market is the biggest in the world, valued at USD 5.9 billion, accounting for about 31% of the global total. The US is an early adopter of medical robots, and the country has been seeing an increasing number of patients undergoing minimal invasive surgeries, a procedure that is typically performed by surgical robots nowadays. North America market also benefited from the presence of several big names in medical robot manufacturing such as Intuitive Surgery, Auris Health, Zimmer Biomet, and ReWalk Robotics to name a few. The U.S. is predicted to retain its leading position until 2032. By that time, the U.S. market is projected to grow to USD 19.9 billion, even though its market share might drop to 24%.
Surgical robotics systems dominate the market
When looking at product types, the surgical robotic systems category accounted for the highest market revenue in 2022. Valued at USD 4.8 billion, the segment represented about 26% of the overall market. This is primarily because they are priced higher than other medical robots. By 2032, the value of this segment is projected to increase to USD 20.9 billion, with a growth rate (CAGR) of 17.7%.
Other segments, according to Apollo Research Reports segmentation, are robotic prosthetics (USD 2.3 billion), pharma robots (USD 3.2 billion), medical service robots (USD 3.3 billion), exo-robots (USD 2.6 billion), and cleanroom robots (USD 1.6 billion). Robotic prosthetics is projecting the highest CAGR among all at 18.1% during the forecast period 2023-2032. By the end of the period, the market value for this segment will reach USD 12.1 billion.
Medical robotic market share by end-users
The four biggest end-users of medical robots are hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and rehabilitation centers.
The hospital robot market, along with ambulatory surgery centers and rehabilitation centers, represents the largest contributor to the total market. Hospitals contribute 47% to the market share, followed by ambulatory surgery centers with 26%, and rehabilitation centers with 23%. The remaining 4% is categorized under the "Other" segment.
In terms of applications, we will have to look at another report provided by another research company, Next Move Strategy Consulting. The firm listed at least 12 different segments based on the application of the medical robots.
Out of 12, the laparoscopy segment is the highest contributor in the market with an estimated USD 2.6 billion in market value in 2022. This number is anticipated to reach USD 9.1 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 16.5%. Da Vinci is the most well-known surgical robotic system used to perform laparoscopic surgery and other minimally invasive surgeries as well. Despite its USD 2 million price tag, the robot is loved by doctors and patients alike for its ease of use and faster recovery times.
Neuro and orthopedic surgeries are the other two biggest application segments in the market each contributing a market value of USD 2.2 billion and USD 1.7 billion in 2022.
The first application of robotic surgery was in the field of neurosurgery when PUMA 560 was used for brain biopsy purposes. However, due to the complexity of neurological structures and the constrained space that neurosurgeons must work in, neurosurgery has been slow in the adoption of medical robotics. Regardless, the utilization of robotics systems in the neurosurgery field has been proven to increase surgical accuracy, allowing surgeons to perform more complicated operations.
Orthopedic surgery began incorporating robotic technology in 1992, with the introduction of ROBODOC. Today we have Mako robotic arm from Stryker, which is famous for its unmatched ability in implant placement during knee replacement surgery without damaging the surrounding tissue.
Leading medical robot companies
The medical robotics market is dynamic and rapidly evolving, with new players entering the space and technological advancements constantly shaping the competitive landscape. Some of the biggest and most well-known medical robotics companies are:
Intuitive Surgical: The company has historically been a dominant player in the medical robotics market, particularly in robotic-assisted surgery. They are known for their da Vinci Surgical System, a widely used robotic surgical platform for minimally invasive procedures.
Stryker Corporation: Stryker is a healthcare robotics company that made headlines when it purchased Mako Surgical Corporation in 2013. Stryker's Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology has gained traction in orthopedic surgery, specifically joint replacement procedures.
Medtronic: Medtronic is a diversified medical technology company involved in various healthcare domains, including medical robotics.
- Zimmer Biomet Robotics, formerly known as Medtech, is a renowned company specializing in the production of healthcare robots. Their primary focus lies in developing surgical robots that aid in performing central nervous system procedures. One of their highly successful products is ROSA, a robot designed to assist surgeons in conducting minimally invasive surgeries.