I'll have more on the Da Vinci robotic surgery phenomenon in the near future. But a good taste of what's to come is nicely elucidated by this article in Archives, describing the ungodly costs of taking a perfectly good operation (in this case open thyroidectomy) and foisting the robotic technique on it:
Results The relative costs calculated were $2668 for ST vs $5795 for RT. This represents a 217% increased cost of RT compared with ST. The mean operative times were 113 minutes for ST vs 137 minutes for RT.
Nothing like doubling the cost of a medical procedure in this era of cost containment. Sounds like a winner.