One of the greatest developments over the last ten years in the surgical field has been the rise of robotic systems.
Some of the early adopters of the technology include the specialties of gynecology, urology, and general surgery, where robotics has been able to augment the ability for manipulating body cavity tissue.
Incorporating robotic systems early on in those fields has encouraged innovation and resulted in other surgical subspecialties using them. The spine surgery field has recently introduced robotic systems.
What is Robotic Spine Surgery?
In the most basic sense, robot-assisted spine surgery, or robotic spine surgery, describes using robotic technology to help with guidance throughout the spinal neurosurgery process.
Traditionally, instrumentation has been placed in the spine by neurosurgeons “freehand.” They have relied on X-rays and their anatomy knowledge. Steady hands must be maintained since they are operating in small corridors close to important nerves- particularly with the minimally invasive procedures performed today that involve incisions that are much smaller. Also, spine surgery can be laborious and long, which makes neurosurgeons susceptible to physical and mental fatigue.
Benefits of Combining Modern Surgical Techniques with Robotics
One of the major benefits of using robots to assist in surgeries is the precision it offers over a long duration. Surgeons are incredibly gifted in their profession but still limited by things such as fatigue or limited endurance. With robotics, there’s a better chance to minimize the errors that are often fatigue related. This leads to better outcomes for patients and the surgeons.
Also, the accuracy of surgical procedures can be improved by robots – like those that involve placing screws or rods – by eliminating the problem of unsteady surgeon hands, moving into precise programmed positions, and allowing for precise movements to be made by surgeons while operating in small areas and in patients who have challenging anatomies.
The spine procedures below have successfully used robotic systems:
- Tumor resection
- Minimally invasive decompression
- Minimally invasive posterior, lateral, and anterior fusion
- Spinal deformity corrections
Is Robotic Assisted Surgery Common in the US?
Using spine surgery robots is only now starting to become mainstream. Multiple commercial robots are available. Within 5 years I suspect using robots for performing complex spine surgeries will have become the standard of care in the US.
Is this Type of Surgery Available in Las Vegas?
Robotic spine surgeries can be conducted within traditional hospital operating room settings or in an ambulatory or outpatient spine center like at The Robotic Spine Institute of Las Vegas located at 7140 Smoke Ranch Rd. Ste. 150, Las Vegas, NV 89128. Since less invasive approaches can be facilitated by a robot the surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Even the most complex surgeries that must be conducted in an inpatient setting can be facilitated by this technology.
How Robotic Technology Impacts Operating Time
Operating time is shortened by robotic spine surgery. A bad surgeon is not made good by the robot. But it does make a good surgeon more precise and efficient.
Currently, the only limitation is our imagination. All of the robotic spine surgery technology that exists already makes us very privileged. Surgeons just need to determine how to make all of it work in our patients’ favor who need to have spine surgery.