Ten-Fold Growth in Surgeons Trained in Minimally Invasive da Vinci(R) Colorectal Surgery

September 4, 2014 at 1:52 PM EDT

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sept. 4, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A record number of U.S. colorectal surgeons received hands-on training using the da Vinci Surgical System at the fourth-annual Colorectal Fellowship Training Program, sponsored by Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq:ISRG). Intuitive Surgical hosted 88 residents this year, up from nine when the program was first offered in 2011.

The 88 residents trained at one of four centers around the country, including Intuitive Surgical facilities in Sunnyvale, California and Atlanta; Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Celebration, Florida and Memorial Hermann in Houston. The comprehensive program included lectures, given by experienced da Vinci surgeons, on techniques for the surgical management of rectal cancer and colon diseases. Surgeon-led training also included surgical video review and simulated surgery practice. At the conclusion of the program, the residents earned a certificate for completing basic da Vinci Surgical System skills training.

"This course is the perfect opportunity to introduce new specialists in colorectal surgery to technologies designed to enable minimally invasive surgery," said Myriam Curet, M.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer at Intuitive Surgical. "This is good news for patients because minimally invasive surgery is not yet widely used among colorectal specialists. Fewer than half of today's colorectal patients receive a minimally invasive procedure," Curet said.

This is the first year the program was conducted in collaboration with the Association of Program Directors for Colon and Rectal Surgery (APDCRS), which oversees the curriculum. The APDCRS, working in collaboration with the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), offers the program as part of all colorectal surgery residencies. Colorectal surgery residents have all completed a general surgery residency and spend an additional year of training to develop expertise in treating colorectal diseases.

"Advanced technology training, specifically in minimally invasive surgery, is a significant educational advancement for the next generation of colorectal surgeons," said Charles Whitlow, M.D., President of the Association of Program Directors for Colon and Rectal Surgery and Program Director of the Colon and Rectal Surgery training program at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. "The level of participation among this year's residents suggests that robotic technology is becoming fundamental to new colorectal surgeons' academic experience," Whitlow added.

Training and experience in robotic-assisted surgery will become increasingly important as hospitals around the country adopt da Vinci technology.

"We have received an outstanding response to the program from participating surgeons," said Robert Cleary, M.D., program Faculty member, Section Head of General Surgery and Head of the Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship Program at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, Michigan. "It's exciting to now be able to offer advanced technology training in minimally invasive techniques to all new colorectal surgeons," Cleary added.

"This program serves as the leading template for minimally invasive da Vinci training in colorectal surgery. We're committed to offering the course in the years ahead and welcome all new colorectal residents who wish to participate," said Cleary.

About Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Nasdaq:ISRG), headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., is the global leader in computer-assisted, minimally invasive surgery. Intuitive Surgical develops, manufactures and markets the da Vinci® Surgical System. Intuitive Surgical's mission is to extend the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to those patients who can and should benefit from it.

About the da Vinci Surgical System

There are several models of the da Vinci Surgical System. The da Vinci Surgical Systems are designed to help doctors perform minimally invasive surgery. da Vinci Systems are not programmed to perform surgery on their own. Instead, the surgery is performed entirely by a surgeon, who controls the system. The da Vinci Systems offer surgeons high-definition 3D vision, a magnified view, and computer assistance. They use specialized instrumentation, including a miniaturized surgical camera and wristed instruments (i.e., scissors, scalpels and forceps) that are designed to help with precise dissection and reconstruction deep inside the body.

Important Safety Information

Serious complications may occur in any surgery, including da Vinci Surgery, up to and including death. Risks include, but are not limited to, injury to tissues and organs and conversion to other surgical techniques. If your doctor needs to convert the surgery to another surgical technique, this could result in a longer operative time, additional time under anesthesia, additional or larger incisions and/or increased complications. Individual surgical results may vary. Patients who are not candidates for non-robotic minimally invasive surgery are also not candidates for da Vinci Surgery. Patients should talk to their doctors to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Patients and doctors should review all available information on non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision. Please also refer to www.daVinciSurgery.com/Safety for Important Safety Information.

Intuitive-Provided Instruction

Training provided by Intuitive Surgical is limited to the use of the da Vinci Surgical System and does not replace the necessary medical training and experience required to perform surgery. The da Vinci Surgical System should be used only by surgeons who have received specific training in the use of the da VinciSurgical System.

Intuitive Surgical facilitates peer-to-peer clinical teaching but does not teach surgery, nor does it provide or evaluate surgical credentialing. Procedure descriptions are developed with, reviewed and approved by course faculty, who are independent surgeons.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding regulatory clearances to market the da Vinci Xi System around the world. These forward-looking statements are necessarily estimates reflecting the best judgment of our management and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements should, therefore, be considered in light of various important factors, including those under the heading "Risk Factors" in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, as updated from time to time by our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements using words such as "estimates," "projects," "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "intends," "may," "will," "could," "should," "would," "targeted" and similar words and expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

CONTACT: Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Nasdaq:ISRG)
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