Steeper Learning Curve
Surgeon often notes a much steeper learning curve in mastering the Da Vinci System which takes time. It usually takes at least hundreds of surgeries before the surgeon expresses that they are able to master the robot. This extra training time can perhaps be better used to train a surgeon’s skill in manual operation. Surgeon might possibly not be able to make full use of the advantage of the robots if they have not mastered it yet.
High cost involved
The cost of the first robotic surgery was as high as $1 million though this figure has since come down significantly. Robotic surgeries are more expensive than the traditional surgery due to the extra cost of robots though this does not really take into account the extra benefits that robotic surgery brought about. The robots have a fixed cost of $1.4 million and an annual maintenance fee of $120k. However, this is a fixed cost and will be greatly reduced for the patients if there is high usage of the robots. There is also the additional cost of training a surgeon and the lost time that can be used to operate on patients.
Possibility of malfunction
With robots, there are possibility of malfunction just like all electronics and as the Murphy laws go. As a guide, the robotic assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RLRP) has a malfunction rate of around 2.6%. However, should a malfunction occurs, surgeon can readily take over the robot to continue with the operation. A replacement robot can be also put in place to be ready for such mishap.