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.
Modern spinal surgery is geared towards accelerating a patient’s return to wellness. Spinal surgery has greatly evolved over the last two decades with more focus being dedicated to minimizing surgical trauma and towards expediting the patient’s recovery through the application of minimally invasive procedures such as robotic spine surgery.
What is Robotic Spine Surgery?
Robotic spinal surgery is the newest advancement in spinal surgery. This new technique allows for smaller incisions that expose patients (and medical practitioners) to less radiation, enhance accuracy during surgery and enables faster recovery. Robotic spinal surgery also significantly reduces the overall risk while undergoing surgery. Robotic spinal surgery is a cutting edge technology and doctors are using this new method to accomplish complex spinal reconstructive operations and minimally invasive spine surgical operations.
Robotic Spine Surgery Procedure
Conventionally, surgeons undertake complex spinal surgical operations by inserting screws inside the spinal bones freehand, i.e., using their feel and judgment, or with the aid of numerous X-rays taken during the theatre operation.
When taken numerous times over and over, these X-rays expose the patient as well as the surgeon to substantial radiation amounts that can be harmful. These traditional methods are applied with a significant risk of wrongly placing the screws or putting the screws in sub-optimal positions. This can result into a less effective surgery or even paralysis.
Enter: Mazor Robotics Renaissance System
Robotic spinal surgery brings more precision to spinal operations, consequently significantly lowering screw misplacement risk. The Mazor Robotics Renaissance System enables surgeons to use CT scans (computerized tomography scans) that are taken before surgery in order to have a blueprint that is followed during the actual operation. The CT scan images are processed using 3D computerized systems that enable the surgeons to plan out the operation with greater accuracy even before going to theatre room.
Through the use Mazor Renaissance Robot, a surgeon is in total control of the operation and inserts the screws using hands, but guidance is provided by the robotic system basing on the 3D computerized plan prepared before the operation. The Mazor robot can bend and rotate to enable placement in a highly specific position as well as correct trajectory. Mazor robotic spine surgery can significantly increase the accuracy level and safety, especially when operating through small incisions and when handling sophisticated anatomy.
The Mazor Renaissance Robot enables spine surgeons to carry out many spine surgeries ranging from simple to complex theatre operations with a greater degree of safety, efficiency and accurateness. Robotic spinal surgery decreases radiation exposure, reduces complication rates, and accelerates recovery for the patient to resume normal functions.
What criteria make a prospective candidate for robotic spine surgery?
The decision for a patient to undergo robotic-assisted spinal surgery hinges on numerous considerations. While not all patients are prospective candidates for minimally invasive procedures, it is good to note that the Mazor Renaissance Robot guidance system can be applied in numerous situations ranging from simple to complex spinal surgeries. The patient and the surgeons collaborate and discuss various treatment options including robot assisted surgery in order to decide on the treatment procedure that is better than the others.
Injuries and complications to the spinal cord can lead to several conditions, depending on the nature and extent of the spine injury. Some of the most common signs include impaired mobility, breathing difficulties, and changes in sexual fertility, and loss of bladder or bowel control. Others include extreme back pressure or pain in the head and neck and poor coordination or paralysis in certain parts of the body.
Some back problems and spine conditions can be corrected through drugs or alternative therapies; however, there are some spine conditions which require spine surgery for the patient to regain full spine function and mobility. These conditions are ankylosing spondylitis, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rare condition affects about 0.1% of adults. It is most prevalent in male teenagers, although it can affect people in different age groups. It is not common in women, however, it has been observed to affect certain Native American tribes. Symptoms of this condition include pain and stiffness in the in the lower back region, bony fusion thus creating abnormal joints and pain in tendons and ligaments.
A cure for this spine condition has not yet been developed. However, there are treatments that can be administered to improve function and reduce discomfort. One treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis is artificial joint replacement surgery. Those who suffer from lower back and hip because of this condition are highly advised to seek this surgery. For more information about this treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis, we suggest visiting the website of New Jersey spine surgeon Dr. Joshua S. Rovner who specialize in this condition of the spine.
Spinal Stenosis is a back problem that is age-related. Most of the affected victims are those who are above fifty years. It mainly occurs due to cumulative effects of osteoarthritis. As a result, the ligaments connecting the spine to the bones thicken. The common symptoms of spinal stenosis include weakness and pain in the thighs, feet and legs, which impairs mobility.
Doctors first approach this problem with conservative treatment methods. This may include anti-inflammatory painkillers or injection of corticosteroids to reduce nerve inflammation. However, these are only short-term measures. The most effective treatment for this complication is surgery.
Spine surgery can prove very successful in helping patients to recover mobility. There are several surgical options for this condition. These are lumbar laminectomy and insertion of devices at the spine. Lumbar laminectomy involves removing the lamina to create space thus relieving pressure and alleviating pain. This surgical procedure has been reported to have 80% success in restoring and improving movement.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease occurs when the spine’s intervertebral discs deteriorate. It is closely related to spinal stenosis. With advancing age, there is weakening of the cartilage that holds these discs. In addition to that, there is a decrease in their protein and water content. With the discs degeneration, victims start experiencing back pain especially in the area that is affected. The pain is then spread through the nerves that originate from the spinal canal.
Degenerative disc disease also leads to breakdown of components that form the spine in the lower back. The pain gradually spreads to the buttocks, leg, and feet. Lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery is one of the most effective treatment methods. With this procedure, the disc is replaced, instead of fusion. Therefore, the lumbar part of the spine is able to resume normal motion and reducing chances of future wear and tear.
Spinal conditions are one of the major causes of impaired movement and mobility. Several treatments can be prescribed by a spine surgeon in order to rectify the situation, which are mostly short-term. However, in some cases, the best option available is surgery, which is normally a long-term solution.