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.
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.
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.
Mazor commercially launched the FDA-cleared robotics platform during the North American Spine Society annual meeting in October 2016.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Reviewed by: Dr. Christopher Good, MD, FACS.