New Generation of Robots Guides Precision Placement of Spinal Hardware

Northwestern Medicine
Neurosciences November 14, 2019
As spinal surgery has evolved, more focus has been placed on minimally invasive techniques. However, smaller incisions can pose a challenge to surgeons due to the limited view of the patient’s anatomy. A new surgical system now in use at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital combines 3D pre-operative planning, robotic guidance and intra-operative surgical navigation for precise placement of spinal implants and screws.

“When placing a screw into the spine, you only have one opportunity to place it correctly,” said Peter Lee, MD, neurosurgeon, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. “Robotics will allow us to perform minimally-invasive surgeries with increased safety, accuracy and precision leading to less blood loss, less post-operative pain, and faster recovery.”

The Mazor X™ Stealth Edition Platform provides surgeons comprehensive information and visualization before ever making an incision. Using 3D imaging and computer analytics, the surgeon plans an optimal surgery in a CT-based 3D simulation of the patient’s spine.

During surgery, advanced intra-operative imaging and 3D cameras synchronize the position of the surgical arm with the pre-op surgical blueprint. The robotic arm serves as a guide as the surgeon inserts tools and implants ensuring the correct location, trajectory and depth.

Monitors and displays help surgeons see exactly where their instruments are in relation to the spine throughout a procedure. Once an implant and screw is properly placed, the robot arm will move to the next position.

The robotic platform will assist surgeons in the treatment of many spine condition. The most common being spinal fusion, a procedure that fuses together damaged vertebrae using a bone graft to create a single, solid bone. Screws and rods are often used to hold the bones together. The goal is to eliminate pain by preventing movement between the painful disks of the vertebrae.

“The platform enables us to develop a customized surgical plan for every patient. Intra-operative guidance during surgery enhances precision, efficiency and confidence,” said Dr. Lee. “We’re excited to be among the first spine centers to offer the latest surgical technology to our patients.”

The Mazor X™ Stealth Edition Platform is available at both Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill. and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Check out these NM Care Areas: