Spinal Robotic Technology
Spine surgery is evolving at a lightning fast pace and an integral part of that is robotic surgery. Robotic spine surgery utilizes navigation technologies which enables surgeons to more accurately and efficiently place instrumentation or “hardware” in the spine. Spine navigation technology has been around for many years and has been helpful in decreasing the amount of radiation exposure for patients and surgeons during surgery. It also helps in the accuracy of placement of spinal instrumentation. In a sense, it is like GPS for spine surgery.
Benefits of Spinal Robotic Technology
Robotic spine surgery is taking navigation to the next level by enhancing patient safety and improving efficiency in surgery. This technology allows surgeons to develop a specific surgical plan prior to surgery. By integrating preoperative imaging into the robotic software platform, a surgeon can see the patient’s anatomy in three dimension. This allows the surgeon to create a specific surgical plan and obtain spinal alignment parameters without the need to surgically expose a large portion of the spine. Pedicle screw (spinal hardware) trajectory can be planned prior to surgery and goals of spinal alignment can be met much more easily. Once the surgery begins, the surgeon can employ the plan with more accuracy and efficiency, thus producing a safer and faster surgery for the patient.
Spinal robotic surgery techniques utilize minimally invasive surgical techniques. Due to the enhanced accuracy of robotics, smaller incisions are used which result in less blood loss, decreased postoperative pain and a faster recovery for patients. Simply put, robotic spine surgery allows surgeons to more easily obtain surgical goals, decreases operating time, and improve the care of their patients- all without compromising safety in any way.
Who is a candidate for Robotic Spine Surgery
Currently, any patient with thoracolumbar (mid and low back) spinal pathology may be a candidate for robotic spine surgery. This technology can be incorporated into most surgical plans throughout the mid and lower spine based on surgeon preference and recommendation.
What’s next in Robotic Spine Surgery
The next phase of robotic spine technology will allow surgeons to perform more accurate and directed decompression surgery. The decompression aspect of a typical spine surgery involves the process of removing bone and ligament that may be pressing on nerves causing pain and numbness. By providing three dimensional anatomy views, robotic technology will allow the surgeon to create a precise custom surgical plan for the decompression surgery. Disrupting less tissue and muscle, robotic decompression surgery will help alleviate common symptoms like pain and numbness and ultimately produce better surgical outcomes.