Robot Assists Spinal Surgery

Thu, 07/14/2011 - 5:37am

Robotic devices are increasingly being used in complex surgical procedures. Where once a surgeon's steady hands were tools of ultimate precision, Israeli surgeons are now using robots to assist in complicated spinal operations.

Mazor Robotics, an Israeli company, has developed a robotic guidance system to assist surgeons during complex spine surgeries. Mazor Robotics' flagship Renaissance Robot is claimed to be highly accurate, less invasive and results in better post-operative outcomes.

The robotic doctor cannot perform surgery by itself. But it can mark the precise locations on the body with an accuracy of one millimeter and guides the surgeon, who can then make an incision and insert the screws or pins into the patient's spine, with a higher degree of accuracy. It took surgeons some time to trust the robot, but once they got used to it, it has been very helpful.

Dr. Yair Barzilay, Orthopedic Surgery Unit of Hadassah Medical Organization, said, "The film you review is as if you have done the actual surgery once already. So when you are in the field you know the insides of the patient. You know what to expect, especially in repeat surgeries when the anatomy changes, especially when there is a specific deformation of the spine, when there is lack of tissue due to infection or a tumor or other things."

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