Intuitive Surgical Earnings Call Nuggets: Cholecystectomies and General Surgery vs. dVH

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Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Cholecystectomies

Lennox Ketner – Bank of America: Congratulations on a good quarter. I guess first, I just wanted to touch base on general surgery and the growth that you are seeing in cholecystectomies. I’m wondering at this point in the year if it’s possible to speak kind of either quantitatively or qualitatively to how much of that uptick you think is trialing versus sticky procedures. I don’t know if you can give any sense as to what percentage of the 450 customers that have bought Single-Site kits have bought second kits or if it’s possible to speak at all to how much you think is trialing versus sticky procedures?

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Aleks Cukic – VP, Strategy: Well, I think it’s really too early to say what is a trend, what is ultimately a long-term expectation. It’s our belief and what we can say at this point, and it’s our belief that with 450 U.S. customers purchasing starter kits that there’s a lot of interest in people moving toward single-incision surgery. Trying to define how many of those we will have going forward that are part of the initial purchases is difficult to say. But I think we’re most pleased with the fact that it is indeed a large number of U.S. customers that are going through the purchasing activity and actually doing these procedures today.

Lennox Ketner – Bank of America: And then just as a follow-up, there was some concern around the recent AAGL statement regarding robotic hysterectomy, (is in) the fact that AAGL doesn’t believe it should be used to replace laparoscopic hysterectomies. I know that most of your hysterectomy procedures that are being done right now are actually replacing open surgeries, that I’m wondering if you could maybe (disclaim) for people on a go-forward basis what percentage of the hysterectomy market you think is still being done as open procedures just so people have a sense as to what the remaining opportunity is there just in terms of simply converting open procedures to robotic?

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