​Robotic Surgeries May be an Important Aid in Combating the Opioid Crisis

Stephen L Kanaval  |

One of the more interesting aspects of the robotic surgery industry is its potential in minimally invasive procedures. Compared to laparoscopic surgery - which uses small incisions and a camera, but the operating surgeon still uses their own hands to perform the work inside the body - robotic surgery offers increased precision and a greater range of motion for the operating surgeon (sometimes as great as 2-5 degrees in motion).

All told, this means less bleeding, less scarring and trauma, less pain, and, overall, a less stressful hospital experience for both sides of the procedure. In many ways, we are entering the golden years of minimally invasive surgery and as costs for platforms decrease, the field could make such procedures as easier than ever thought possible. Furthermore, with less surgical trauma, less opiates are needed in recovery, which is something with obvious appeal.

Stereotaxis, Inc.  (STXS) ()is one name to keep in mind in this growing field. The company is already embedded in the clinical marketplace specifically focusing on arrhythmias with over 100,000 patients served under their platforms, which include:

  • Niobe® - a robotic navigation system that has two pivoting arms able to guide catheter movement.
  • VDrive® - provides robotic controls of the diagnostic device and ablation devices.
  • Odyssey® Information Management System - is a series of systems that allow hospitals to tap into improved electrophysiology performance.

Just recently, STXS announced a partnership to bring their technology to the Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute as they establish a new program to expand the Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Stereotaxis's technology will be key as they use robotics to advance arrhythmia care.


“We are pleased to begin this partnership knowing that it allows us to care for patients in a way we have not been able to in the past, furthering our guiding vision to be the premier healthcare destination for patients suffering from cardiac arrhythmias,” said Dr. Lakkireddy. “Stereotaxis’ robotic technology enables improved outcomes and unparalleled safety for patients and the hospital clinical team during cardiac ablation procedures. It also allows us to better address a range of complex arrhythmias that otherwise might not have been treated, providing hope to many patients who otherwise would have had no options for cardiac arrhythmia. We have observed the clinical value of robotic cardiac ablation and are excited to be providing patients convenient access to this technology.”


This move in Kansas City is part of Stereotaxis's new innovation plan to increase their footprint in the market. The goal of the plan is to double the company's annual revenues, per CEO David Leo Fischel in the company's recent call.

"We have a well-defined multipronged strategy here categorized into 6 fields: effective physician training, good procedure support, tools to drive physician practice growth, tools to generate patient demand, building physician relationships and supporting impactful clinical literature," Fishel commented in that same call.

One of the aspects of physician relationships - which is akin to what they did in Kansas City - is a electrophysiology fellowship program recruiting leading clinicians across the country to essentially be ambassadors and leaders in expanding the STXS platform.

Lastly, after some years of dilution, it looks as if Stereotaxis has righted the ship with $11 million in cash and very little debt on the books. The company has begun to pay out some money for innovations to existing technology, but this was seemingly done in a shrewd manner ( a total of $2 million spent). Looking at the recent financial statement, revenue for the 3Q of 2018 totaled $7.6 million, while recurring revenue was up 4% from the prior year quarter. The company's recurring revenue for the first 9 months of 2018 of $21 million was up 5% from the first 9 months of 2017.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
STXS Stereotaxis Inc. 2.06 0.38 22.91 451,537

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