Reuters/Yahoo News, November 4, 2008
A mechanical snake that can enter the body through natural orifices to perform operations is just one futuristic device researchers believe will transform traditional surgical techniques. With a world recession looming and healthcare budgets under pressure, it may seem an odd time to talk about hi-tech surgery: The average selling price of the market-leading da Vinci system from California's Intuitive Surgical Inc is $1.35 million. Some critics have questioned the cost-effectiveness of robots when other treatments, such as cancer drugs, are being rationed. But proponents note prices will inevitably fall as usage and competition increase.