ABC7 News Features VSI Patient Competing in Invictus Games. Watch Here!

Insights To Help Get You Back To Your Life.

VSI Surgeons Lead Research Study on Robotic-Guided Spine Surgery

Authored by Virginia Spine Institute, Dr. Christopher Good, MD, FACS, Dr. Thomas Schuler, MD, FACS, FAAOS, Dr. Colin Haines, MD, FACS, Dr. Ehsan Jazini, MD, FACS. December 9, 2021

The surgeons at the Virginia Spine Institute and the research team at the National Spine Health Foundation were led by principal investigator, Dr. Christopher Good, in a research project involving robotic-guided spine surgery which was published in the Journal of Robotic Surgery this month.  

Dr. Good, Dr. Schuler, Dr. Haines, and Dr. Jazini are highly recognized for their work in robotic-assisted spine surgery and have numerous publications and presentations on this topic. This surgical team specializes in treating patients with abnormal spinal alignment, broadly known as spinal deformities.  For this specific group of patients that undergo spinal fusion surgery to correct their alignment, the use of robotics has transformed the preoperative planning process for these often complex surgeries. During surgery, the location of screw placement is based on the surgeon’s preoperative plan, making the execution of screw placement highly accurate.

The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy and complication rates associated with screws placed at the foundation of the spine, the interface of the lower spine and pelvis (called S2AI screws), whose location was pre-planned by the surgeon using the robotic software and then guided according to that plan during surgery.  These screws are unique because they are located at the foundation of the spinal column and provide a tremendous amount of support for the new spinal alignment achieved during surgery.  However, the surrounding nerve and vascular structures must be avoided during placement.

The findings in this recently published paper were excellent, showing that there were no complications related to these foundational screws, no need for revision surgery as a result of these screws, and accuracy rating was 100%.  The take-home message is that this robotic-guided technique for S2AI screw placement is reliable and accurate which significantly reduces the complications associated with alternative techniques for screw placement.

Patients with spinal malalignment can rest assured that this team of surgeons is dedicated to researching modern techniques to accomplish their complex surgeries.