Robotic Spinal Fusion Surgery Shapes Future of Minimally-Invasive Procedures
The aim of modern spinal surgery is to maximize the functionality of the patient’s spine and speed up the recovery time. As the medical field has evolved more and more to emphasize reducing the amount of trauma that the body experiences during surgery, the use of minimally invasive techniques and technologies have become at the forefront of the medical community.
Minimally-invasive surgery has evolved with the use of robot-guided systems. Today, robotic spinal fusion surgery has become a staple among orthopedic surgeons. And moving forward, robotic spine surgery will shape the future of minimally-invasive procedures.
Robot-Guided Spinal Surgery
Robots are the new technologies guiding surgeons in the operating room as they treat various types of spinal injuries. Robotic spinal fusion surgery is a development that offers benefits to both doctors and patients alike. They offer improved safety to both complex and minimally invasive spinal surgeries.
When placing implants, doctors previously placed screws in the spinal columns of patients using x-rays and freehand judgment to decide on where to put them. These methods had their drawbacks as the X-rays were a constant source of radiation for the patients and doctors and the freehand method did not promise great measures of accuracy. The risk that doctors took involved permanently paralyzing their patients.
The use of robotic spinal surgery has promised a greater degree of accuracy in spinal surgeries, resulting in a higher success rate. Doctors use the Mazor Robotics‘ Renaissance System (the name of the robot) to have greater control over where screws are placed as the robot provides the doctor with a guidance system of where they should go. This new development from Mazor Robotics has increased the accuracy of spinal fusion surgery to a degree of 1mm.
In addition to cases that demand disc replacement surgery and related operations, robotic spinal fusion surgery is one of several surgeries that surgeons can perform safely using the Mazor robot and reduce the amount of radiation that patients are exposed to while reducing the risks of complications and recovery time.
How It Works
The only robotic system being used in the United States to implant screws during spinal surgery is the Mazor Robotics Renaissance System. This system enables doctors to use CT scan images that are taken prior to the surgery to build a well thought-out plan of how the surgery will be performed. The CT image is then uploaded into a planning system with a 3D display that allows the surgeon to walk him or herself through the entire surgery before it has even began.
When the surgery starts, the surgeon is responsible for all of the physical work. The Mazor Robotics system is minimally-invasive spine surgery technology that is only used to guide the surgeon’s actions, based on the accurate planning that went on before the surgery. The robot itself is small, about the size of a 500ml soda can with a small appendage attached. The robot’s mobility allows it to turn and place its arm right on the spot where the surgeon wants to place the implant.
The precise guidance that the Mazor Robot provides helps surgeons to place implants safely, especially when working with small incisions that make the surgery as minimally invasive as possible. The system is also equipped with SpineAssist, a platform that enables surgeons to conduct robotic spine surgery with great precision and accuracy.
The Mazor Robotics system has also experienced great success in other robot-guided spinal surgeries. Before the use of this robot, spinal surgeons were forced to expose a large area of the spine in order to effectively fuse separate segments of the spine that had become misaligned. Minimally-invasive robotic spine surgeries for spinal fusion are preferred as there is less damage to the surrounding tools however doctors require complex viewing tools such x-rays to make up for the lack of visibility.
In a study that reviewed 635 different surgeries that involved spinal implants they found a 98.3% accuracy in the placements where robot-guidance was used. Radiation doses have also dropped by 56% since the use of Mazor robotics gained widespread use.