Intuitive Surgical’s Profit Rises on Greater Robot Sales

Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG), the embattled maker of robot surgery devices, said first-quarter profit rose 32 percent on greater use of its da Vinci system.

Net income was $188.9 million, or $4.56 a share, from $143.5 million, or $3.50 a share a year earlier, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said today in a statement. Earnings topped the $3.98 average of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue increased 23 percent to $611.4 million.

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot system, which costs about $1.5 million each, is used in 1,371 hospitals and was involved in more than 300,000 operations last year, the company has said. The device maker is facing at least a dozen lawsuits, including one at trial this week in Washington state, alleging patients were injured by during surgery with the system and doctors hadn’t been trained properly in how to use the robot.

“Despite a concerted effort by vocal critics of robotic surgery, support remains strong among patients, surgeons and hospitals,” Gary Guthart, Intuitive Surgical’s president and chief executive officer, said in the statement. “Da Vinci surgery has clinically proven benefits in offering a minimally invasive option to a broader group of patients than traditional technologies.”

Intuitive Surgical declined 2.8 percent to $493.37 at the close in New York before the earnings announcement. The company’s shares have dropped 16 percent in the past 12 months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Lopatto in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

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