Intuitive Surgical Stock Is the Best MedTech Company to Buy and Hold

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) stock has started off 2019 in great fashion with back-to-back FDA approvals. In February, the U. S. FDA granted clearance for Ion, and in March it cleared da Vinci SP for certain transoral ear, nose, and throat procedures.

There have been concerns over big tech firms like Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) entering the space , but ISRG stock has decidedly shaken off those worries. It’s also shaken off competition from other medical-device companies.

In 2019, ISRG stock has outperformed the competition—namely, Medtronic PLC (NYSE:MDT)—handily. MDT made a play to enter the space via its acquisition of Mazor Robotics last fall. Maybe MDT finally caught a glimpse into the future and realized it was going to fall behind without a drastic move in the robotics space. But this is Intuitive’s court, and Medtronic is playing catch up.

The performance of ISRG stock says it all. Year-to-date, ISRG stock is up 10.5% and MDT is down 7.5%. Over the past five years, the outperformance is even more stark, proving that the market rewards innovation. ISRG stock is up an astounding 1342% during that period (as of Apr. 17), versus MDT’s gain of just 48%.

New Approvals Boost ISRG Stock

The Ion endoluminal system has changed  lung-cancer diagnosis. Doctors can now conduct minimally invasive biopsies in the peripheral lung. With the Ion system’s flexible biopsy needle (called the Flexision Biopsy Needle), ISRG’s technology can now access small,  difficult locations in lung lesions and improve doctors’ abilities to make a lung cancer diagnosis.

We know that early diagnosis can save lives, and ISRG’s robotic-assisted system shows how effective ISRG  is in developing innovative, minimally invasive solutions and how it is extending its focus beyond surgery.

The second milestone for Intuitive came on the heels of the approval of Ion; ISRG’s da Vinci surgical system was approved for use in certain transoral ear,nose and throat  procedures in adults.  Ion provides surgeons with the ability to access deep and narrow tissue in the body through just a single, small incision.

Ion utilizes a multi-jointed, wristed instruments and a fully wristed 3D HD camera. There are countless YouTube videos worth watching  of the system assisting surgeons, making operations less invasive and more efficient.

Ion is groundbreaking.

ISRG Stock Has Momentum From ISRG’s Strong Fourth Quarter

ISRG had an indisputably strong Q4, as its revenue rose 17% year-over-year, crossing the billion-dollar mark. The revenue jump was driven by increases in both procedures and systems  sales.

During the quarter, instrument and accessory revenue jumped  18% to over half a billion dollars. The volume of Da Vinci procedures  grew 19% YoY. After the FDA approval for the product’s use in ear, nose and throat procedures in adults this year, investors can expect to see sustained growth, propelled by new applications for the company’s core da Vinci technology.

In Q4, ISRG shipped 290 da Vinci Surgical Systems compared to 216 in Q4 of 2017. Not only is there more demand for the product, but surgeons are also using it more often. Worldwide, the number of da Vinci procedures grew approximately 19% year-over-year. Expect ISRG to keep posting double-digit growth figures in those areas.

ISRG Stock Will Continue to Rise

ISRG  continues to be the leader of robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery. The performance of ISRG stock has been wonderful and will continue to bolster investors’ portfolios.

ISRG’s fundamentals look excellent, and the significant momentum behind the rise of ISRG stock should continue. Demand for its da Vinci technology doesn’t show any sign of slowing, as the rapid growth of the elderly population increases demand for surgical procedures.

Expect continued growth in the number of shipments of the da Vinci surgical system and further FDA approvals of new procedures assisted by ISRG’s products.

As of this writing, Luce Emerson did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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