Shares of Intuitive Surgical Inc. (NASDAQ: ISRG) were up over 10% on Wednesday. The stock has gained 74% over the past 12 months and 9% since the beginning of this year. The company kicked off 2021 on a strong note by reporting strong earnings results for the first quarter a day ago.
The main highlight of the quarterly report was the increase in surgical procedures and the use of the company’s products which indicated a recovery as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. This trend is anticipated to continue through the year as the pandemic eases with the help of vaccine distribution.
In the first quarter of 2021, procedure growth was 16% year-over-year compared to 10% in the same quarter a year ago. The US witnessed a growth of 14%, with a steady recovery after January in line with a drop in COVID cases. The OUS segment saw a growth of 23% in the quarter.
Intuitive benefited from a rise in general surgery in the US, driven by bariatric surgery, cholecystectomy and hernia. The growth in bariatrics and cholecystectomy was helped by the company’s advanced instrument portfolio and the expansion of robotic procedures by general surgeons throughout their total practice.
Gynecology procedures grew double-digits in the US during Q1 compared to the prior-year. Meanwhile, procedure growth outside the US was driven by urology, earlier stage growth in general surgery, gynecology and thoracic procedures. In terms of markets outside the US, the company saw strong procedure growth in China and France. While growth moderated in Japan due to pandemic-related restrictions, UK remained challenged due to COVID-19.
For the full year of 2021, Intuitive expects procedure growth within a range of 22-26%, driven by US general surgery and procedures outside the US. The high end of the range assumes a decline in COVID-19 cases and the impact on da Vinci procedures throughout the year. It also assumes that vaccine rollouts will continue at the current pace and that the recovery of patients will progress.
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