Intuitive Surgical

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Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
IndustryMedical Appliances & Equipment
HeadquartersSunnyvale, California, U.S.
Key people
  • Gary S. Guthart
  • (CEO)
  • Lonnie M. Smith
  • (Chairman)
Productsda Vinci Surgical System
  • Increase US$ 4.4 billions (2020)[1]
  • Increase US$ 1.1 billion (2012)[1]
  • Decrease US$ 852.5 million (2013)[1]
  • Increase US$ 878.1 million (2012)[1]
  • Increase US$ 1.1 billion (2020)[1]
  • Increase US$ 656.6 million (2012)[1]
Total assets
  • Decrease US$ 11.2 billion (2020)[2]
  • Increase US$ 4,059.2 million (2012)[1]
Total equity
  • Decrease US$ 3,501.4 million (2013)[2]
  • Increase US$ 3,580.1 million (2012)[1]
Number of employees
5,527[3] (2018)

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. is an American corporation that develops, manufactures, and markets robotic products designed to improve clinical outcomes of patients through minimally invasive surgery, most notably with the da Vinci Surgical System. The company is part of the NASDAQ-100 and S&P 500. As of December 31, 2019, Intuitive Surgical had an installed base of 5,582 da Vinci Surgical Systems, including 3,531 in the U.S., 977 in Europe, 780 in Asia, and 294 in the rest of the world.[4]


The research that eventually led to the development of the da Vinci Surgical System was performed in the late 1980s at a non-profit research institute SRI International.[5] In 1990, SRI received funding from the National Institutes of Health. SRI developed a prototype robotic surgical system that caught the interest of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was interested in the system for its potential to allow surgeons to operate remotely on soldiers wounded on the battlefield.

In 1994, Dr. Frederic Moll became interested in the SRI System, as the device was known at the time. At the time, Moll was employed by Guidant. He tried to interest Guidant in backing it, to no avail. In 1995, Moll was introduced to John Freund, who had recently left Acuson Corporation. Freund negotiated an option to acquire SRI's intellectual property, and incorporated a new company that he named Intuitive Surgical Devices, Inc.

At that point Freund, Moll, and Robert Younge (also from Acuson) wrote the business plan for the company and raised its initial venture capital. Early investors included the Mayfield Fund, Sierra Ventures, and Morgan Stanley.[citation needed]

The company refined the SRI System into a prototype known originally as "Lenny" (after the young Leonardo da Vinci), which was ready for testing in 1997. As the company's prototypes became more advanced, they were named using da Vinci themes. One was named "Leonardo", and another was "Mona". The final version of the prototype was nicknamed the da Vinci Surgical System, and the name stuck when the system was eventually commercialized. After further testing, Intuitive Surgical began marketing this system in Europe in 1999, while awaiting FDA approval in the United States.[citation needed][6]

The company raised $46 million in an initial public offering in 2000. That same year, the FDA approved use of the da Vinci Surgical System for general laparoscopic surgery, which can be used to address gallbladder disease and gastroesophageal disease. In 2001, the FDA approved use of the system for prostate surgery. The FDA has subsequently approved the system for thoracoscopic surgery, cardiac procedures performed with adjunctive incisions, and gynecologic procedures.[7]

Shortly before going public, Intuitive Surgical was sued for patent infringement by Computer Motion, Inc, its chief rival. Computer Motion had actually gotten into the robotic surgery field earlier than Intuitive Surgical, with its own system, the ZEUS Robotic Surgical System. Although the ZEUS system was approved in Europe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not yet approved it for any procedure at the time that the FDA first approved the da Vinci system. The uncertainty created by the litigation between the companies was a drag on each company's growth. In 2003, Intuitive Surgical and Computer Motion agreed to merge, thus ending the litigation between them.[8] The ZEUS system was ultimately phased out in favor of the da Vinci system. Computer Motion was led by Chairman Robert Duggan from 1990 until 2003, when the two companies merged.[9]

Before the buyout of Computer Motion, the stock of Intuitive was selling at around $14 per share, adjusted for stock splits. After the merger, the stock price rose significantly (and by 2015 it was at about $500),[10] primarily because of the growth in systems sold (60 in 2002 compared with 431 in 2014) and the number of surgical procedures performed (less than 1,000 in 2002 compared with 540,000 in 2014).


For the fiscal year 2017, Intuitive Surgical reported earnings of US$660 million, with an annual revenue of US$3.129 billion, an increase of 15.7% over the previous fiscal cycle. Intuitive Surgical's shares traded at over $307 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$58 billion in November 2018.[11]

Year Revenue
in mil. USD$
Net income
in mil. USD$
Total Assets
in mil. USD$
Price per Share
in USD$
2005 227 94 502 21.24
2006 373 72 672 35.65
2007 601 145 1,040 61.82
2008 875 204 1,475 85.48
2009 1,052 233 1,810 61.58
2010 1,413 382 2,390 104.33
2011 1,757 495 3,063 122.21
2012 2,179 657 4,059 172.93
2013 2,265 671 3,950 149.97 2,792
2014 2,132 419 3,959 147.55 2,978
2015 2,384 589 4,907 169.00 3,211
2016 2,704 736 6,487 212.10 3,755
2017 3,129 660 5,758 307.18 4,444

da Vinci Surgical System[edit]

Da Vinci Surgical System
Laproscopic Surgery Robot.jpg
ManufacturerIntuitive Surgical
TypeRobotic surgery

The da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic surgical system. The system is controlled by a surgeon from a console. It is commonly used for prostatectomies and increasingly for cardiac valve repair and gynecologic surgical procedures.[12][13]

A da Vinci Surgical System costs approximately $1.5 million.[14] The new da Vinci SI released in April 2009 cost about $1.75 million. In addition, there are maintenance contracts plus expenditures for instruments used during surgery. In 2008, The New York Times reported that most hospitals and clinics have a hard time recovering the cost of the robot.[13]


In June 2018, Intuitive Surgical settled class action lawsuits against it for a payment of $43 million.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. February 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC 2014 Q1 Quarterly Report Form (10-Q)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. April 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "Intuitive Surgical". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  4. ^ Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (2017-09-30). "Intuitive Surgical Investor FAQ". Intuitive Surgical. Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  5. ^ "Intuitive Surgical." International Directory of Company Histories. The Gale Group, Inc, 2006. 30 Jan. 2009. (other facts from History section from same source)
  6. ^ McGuiness, Ann Marie (Dec 2012). "Robotics in Minimally Invasive Surgery" (PDF). Association of Surgical Technologists. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2008-06-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Mar 7, 2003". Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  9. ^ "Robert Duggan". Robert Duggan. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  10. ^ Yahoo finance, Wednesday, April 1, 2015, ISRG /
  11. ^ "Intuitive Surgical Revenue 2006-2018 | ISRG". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  12. ^ Robots as surgical enablers, MarketWatch, 3 February 2005
  13. ^ a b Prepping Robots to Perform Surgery, The New York Times, 4 May 2008
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2008-10-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Densford, Fink (2018-06-13). "Intuitive Surgical pays $43m to settle class actions". Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  16. ^ "Intuitive Investors Get $42.5M Deal With Bargain Attys' Fees". 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2018-10-30.

External links[edit]