- Intuitive Surgical said it expects surgical procedure volumes to increase by 12% to 16% this year.
- That’s after the company placed 369 of its da Vinci Surgical Systems in the fourth quarter, a 4% decrease from the year-earlier period. Volumes of surgical procedures using the devices rose 18%.
- Fourth-quarter sales missed analyst estimates amid cautious hospital spending and as fewer customers than expected traded in older models of the da Vinci Surgical System for new ones
Intuitive’s lower-end forecast for procedures assumes “ongoing choppiness” with COVID-19 hospitalizations and hospital staffing pressures, while the higher end of the range assumes no impact from COVID, Chief Digital Officer Brian Miller said.
The COVID effect has been marked in China, according to the company.
“We started to see a slow or moderate impact to procedures in China at the beginning of November. That accelerated through the remainder of the quarter,” CFO Jamie Samath said in a briefing Wednesday at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. “[Over the] last two weeks, the procedure impact in China from COVID as cases rose and as they kind of eliminated their zero-COVID policy [there] was a significant reduction in procedures. And so that will continue into Q1.”
Inflation and other financial pressures at hospitals have hurt the placement of surgical robots as labor costs, job vacancies and interest rates all rise, Samath said.
Still, for the hospitals that have been reporting growth in robotic procedures, “da Vinci is a relative priority in their capital budgets,” Samath added.
Intuitive’s revenue reached $1.66 billion in the fourth quarter, a 7% increase from a year earlier, according to preliminary results shared by the company on Wednesday. That was below estimates of $1.69 billion, J.P. Morgan analyst Robbie Marcus wrote in a research note.
Intuitive’s share price fell 4.5% to $259.27 on Wednesday in afternoon trading.