Learn what we are doing to keep our patients and team safe during COVID-19. In-office and telehealth appointments available. Click to read.

Robotic-Guided Spine Surgery

Robotic guided spine surgery has been evolving since 2004.  With each new generation of robotic guidance, surgeons have better tools and patient’s are having even better outcomes. Your spine surgeon will obtain detailed images of your spinal anatomy prior to surgery. These images of your bones will then be mapped used software to template exactly where the surgeons would like to place instrumentation within the spine on the day of your operation. During surgery, the robot has an “arm” with multiple joints that gives the surgeon the exact trajectory to place screws within the bones. The robotic system also allows the surgeon to see exactly where that screw is within bone in real-time. 

Robotic guidance has made minimally invasive fusion surgery possible. Minimally invasive surgery makes small incisions in the skin with minimal exposure to place screws within the spine. Since the robot knows exactly where the bones are underneath the skin the surgeon does not need to expose the structures for visualization.  This allows for faster healing, shorter hospital stays and less blood loss during surgery.

The Virginia Spine Institute utilizes the Mazor X Stealth Edition for robotic guidance. This Mazor X Stealth Edition combines two previously existing technologies of navigation and robotics to be one of the most advance systems within spine surgery today. This is all in an effort to provide you with the best quality of care and the best experience possible.

Benefits of Robotic-Guided Spine Surgery

  • Improving patient safety
  • Less invasive
  • Decrease intra-operative radiation
  • Improve accuracy of surgery
  • Decrease patient complications
  •  Reducing recovery time

Robotic-Guided Spine Surgery FAQs

What is Robotic Spine Surgery?

Robot-guided spine surgery utilizes the Mazor X™ Stealth Edition system which allows our surgeons to plan and create a blueprint for each surgical case, all before setting foot in the operating room. Once in the operating room, our surgeons perform the procedure in its entirety with guidance from the computerized 3D planning system that pin-points each next step.

What is Mazor X™?

The Mazor Robotics system allows our surgeons to use images from a computerized tomography scan (CT scan) that is taken before surgery to create a blueprint for each individual surgical case. These images are loaded into a computerized 3D planning system allowing your surgeon to plan the procedure with a high degree of precision before even entering the operating room. During the operation, the surgeons do all the physical work of surgery.

Is the Mazor X™ System FDA Cleared?

Mazor commercially launched the FDA-cleared robotics platform during the North American Spine Society annual meeting in October 2016.

Is Robotic Surgery Safe?

Our research is already showing that robotic surgery can decrease intraoperative radiation to patients in the operating room, as well as improve accuracy of surgery and decrease patient complications.

What surgeries are typically recommended for robotic guidance?

Robotic guidance is used for posterior instrumented fusions ie when screws are placed within the bones of a patient’s back. This could be for fusion surgery in the low back, mid back or the neck. Robotic guidance may also be used for surgical correction of scoliosis or kyphosis.

Why is robotic guidance and minimally invasive surgery sometimes recommended over more traditional surgical approaches?

Traditional approaches for spine surgery without robotic guidance meant that surgeons had to fully expose the spinal anatomy to better visualize structures to help facilitate appropriate placement of spinal instrumentation. This meant a bigger incision with more blood loss. With minimally invasive fusion surgery, surgeons do not need to visualize the structures to place the screws. Rather, the robotic system helps guide the surgeon to the precise spot through a small incision. Unfortunately, we still recommend the traditional exposure for some larger spinal deformity procedures where extreme deformity correction is warranted.

Does the robot perform the surgery for the surgeon?

We are not there yet! Robotic guidance with the Mazor X Stealth Edition is just an advanced tool for the surgeon to use. The robot guides the surgeon to the exact location and trajectory and the surgeon then places the screw.

Do I need any advanced imaging prior to a robotic guided surgery?

Yes, typically we will get a CT scan of your spine during the time of your hospital stay. If it’s a larger surgery (scoliosis/kyphosis) we will typically recommend a CT scan prior to the surgery and hospital stay.

How do I know if I am a candidate for robotic guidance surgery?

We will obtain a medical history, physical exam, and imaging from you to further assess if you are a candidate for robotic guided surgery. Please schedule an appointment for further information!

Meet Our Spinal Surgeons

Dr. Christopher Good

Spine Surgeon
President of Virginia Spine Institute

Dr. Colin Haines

Spine Surgeon
Director of Research

Dr. Ehsan Jazini

Spine Surgeon

Dr. Thomas Schuler

Spine Surgeon
Founder of Virginia Spine Institute
Chief Executive Officer

Videos About Robotic-Guided Spine Surgery

Robotics & Technology in Spine Surgery

Exciting Results of Robotic-Guided Spine Surgery Study

Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today