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Less Invasive Robot-Guided Spinal Surgeries Offer Better Results

  • Category: Back Surgery
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: DR. HAMID ABBASI

Cutting-edge, robot-guided technologies that are used during spinal surgery are changing the way surgeons perform complex procedures. Recent research has shown that the use of robots not only diminish tissue damage and human error but also reduce recovery time. Robotic technologies enhance the surgeon’s skills and add an array of important tools to the repertoire available in the operating room.

Many experts believe that robotic technologies are the most important new development in spinal surgery today. Robots provide a host of different benefits to patients, mostly by adding to or enhancing the surgeon’s skillset. Using complex algorithms and navigational systems based on sophisticated technology, robots can come up with a plan for locating spinal implants. Pre-operative planning software can help surgeons come up with the best possible plan for each patient. The surgeon can approve plans set forth by the software or come up with an alternate plan. Either way, the patient benefits.

surgeons performing a task But beyond decision-making applications, robots can also be used to reduce the chances of misplacing screws or causing inadvertent nerve damage that happens when surgeons work free-hand on highly sensitive areas of the spine. Robots can hold the surgical instruments while the surgeon uses an interface like a console or a manipulator to guide the robotic arm. Passive robots are the most popular type used for spinal surgeries today because they help the surgeon find the ideal orientation in space over the patient. The parallel manipulator offers a platform with 6-degrees of freedom to allow a surgeon to move easily in three-dimensional space. Inserting a screw or making cuts in sensitive areas of the spine become less dangerous when a robotic arm can be positioned precisely over the patient to achieve an ideal angle. Advanced active robots and semi-active robots can be used in tandem with MRI or CT scan technologies to help doctors put in screws during spinal fusion surgery or to create decompressions for surgeons.

Robots that can mimic the activity of a surgeon who is sitting remotely in an entirely different location with a specialized console also show promise as a way to deliver top-notch surgical care on-demand to patients in locations that aren’t readily accessible to busy surgeons. These robots are stationed bedside while a doctor uses a manipulator to guide the spinal procedure from afar. Robots can not only bring spinal surgeons to patients in sense, but they can also assist with decision-making, regularize surgical movement during procedures to reduce slippage and human error, and provide better positioning over the patient for complex procedures.

For patients, the use of robotic technology ensures less of a need for fluoroscopy, less invasiveness, and a shortened recovery period. Research has shown that results from robotic spinal surgeries are better than results from free-hand surgeries. When used properly as a form of support during spinal fusion surgeries, robots can help surgeons limit the number vertebrae that need to be fused. The possibilities are limitless as robotic technologies increase the accuracy of procedures and open up new opportunities in spinal surgery.