Medical tourists in the Asia-Pacific region seeking surgical interventions for noncommunicable diseases are also creating demand, according to the firm.
IGS and RAS have found higher acceptance in recent years due to their application in surgeries for multi-anatomical diseases. Although initially targeted at neuro applications, IGS systems now are used in orthopedics; cardiovascular; ear, nose, and throat; dental; and spinal surgeries. RAS applications have been extended from prostate surgeries to cardiac, orthopedic, and spinal surgeries, among others.
IGS has experienced substantial use across most Asia-Pacific countries in the past five years, while RAS is expected to remain the reserve of top-tier hospitals, mostly in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, Frost & Sullivan analysts noted. Australia’s RAS adoption rates have been moderate, while Southeast Asia is still in the initial stages of adoption.
A lingering issue is the cost of the systems, and there also are reimbursement concerns. IGS systems cost $250,000, while RAS units range from $1 million to $3 million. Developing countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines do not offer reimbursement for IGS and RAS products, while reimbursement amounts are often negligible in Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, the study indicated.
Image-guided and robot-assisted surgeries also have made successful inroads in Western Europe. The significant cost and clinical benefits offered by such advanced surgical systems has been key to boosting their adoption rates, Frost analysts reported.
Frost & Sullivan estimates the market to reach $1.69 billion in 2018.
“While image-guided surgery is well-established, robot-assisted surgery has been slow to gain acceptance in Western Europe owing to large initial investments and lower reimbursement values,” Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Industry Analyst Beulah Devadason noted. “Nevertheless, the relative reduction in the length of hospital stay, and better surgical outcomes as demonstrated by several clinical studies, continue to motivate hospital authorities to adopt both systems.”
Marketing efforts have focused on improving awareness about the advantages of image-guided and robot-assisted surgical systems. This is translating into higher revenues and overall market growth. However, spending cuts across the European Union remain cause for concern. Budget-conscious hospitals have higher expectations when spending on expensive equipment and manufacturer-specific consumables.
“Market participants must demonstrate cost-effectiveness and improved clinical outcomes of their product offerings in order to fuel greater uptake,” Devadason said.
(Editor’s note: See this month’s feature on robotic surgery.)