Robotic assisted surgery

Status: Decision completed

Policy context

There is an increasing usage of robotic surgical systems. The impact of this technology on overall health outcomes is unclear compared with traditional open or laparoscopic surgical techniques.

Primary criteria ranking

  • Safety = Medium
  • Efficacy = Medium
  • Cost = Medium

Assessment timeline

  • Draft report published: March 22, 2012
  • Public comment period: March 22 to April 5, 2012
  • Updated final report published: May 4, 2012
  • HTCC public meeting: May 18, 2012
  • Draft findings and decision published: June 27, 2012
  • Public comment period: June 27 to July 11, 2012


Robotic assisted surgery involves use of a computerized system operated by a surgeon at a computer console connected with robotic arms. The system is used to assist in laparoscopic surgical procedures. Robotic assisted surgery may allow for finer more precise control of the instruments by the surgeon, though surgery may take longer. Laparoscopic surgery is associated with improved postsurgical pain and recovery and with lower risk of infection and blood loss for some procedures compared with open surgery.