WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- A hot trend in operating rooms is getting a close look from the Food and Drug Administration.
These new million-dollar, multi-armed robots are used in thousands of procedures. However there is a concern that injuries and deaths from robotic surgeries may be on the rise.
The da Vinci robot is growing in popularity among surgeons across the country. The Associated Press reports the FDA is looking into a spike in reported problems with the robot, including five deaths that could be linked to the robot since early 2012.
Dr. Marty Markary, M.D. of Johns Hopkins medicine tells CBS News, "With robotic surgery, you lose the ability to feel the tissue. You can't feel the strength and you can actually cut something without ever feeling it in your hands."
Intuitive Surgical, the company that builds the da Vinci systems says the rise in complaints reflects a change in the way the company reports problems.
Company spokeswoman Angela Wonson tells AP, The da Vinci system "has an excellent safety record with over 1.5 million surgeries performed globally, and total adverse event rates have remained low and in line with historical trends."
One in four U.S. hospitals have at least one da Vinci robot. Dr. Keith Kowalzcyk of Medstar Georgetown University Hospital uses robotic surgery to remove kidney tumors without having to remove the entire organ itself.
Dr. Kowalzcyk says, "The main thing is the robot gives you a magnified field so depending on the model you can have up to ten times magnification which allows me to identify the blood supply to the kidney much better."
"The robotics have evened the playing field. It's made it much, much easier to do this procedure, and I think it's made it easier for more neurologists to do this procedure," adds Dr. Kowalzcyk.