Patient Information: Robotic-Assisted Spine Surgery
Robotic-assisted minimally-invasive spine surgery uses a navigational system in which a computer merges the CT and X-ray images to map the anatomy and guide neurosurgeons in the procedure. The neurosurgeon operates through small incisions along the spine, separating the muscles surrounding the spine rather than cutting through them.
Our neurosurgeons use robotic-assisted surgery to perform spinal fusions, a procedure to permanently join together two or more vertebrae in the spine so there is no movement between them. Spinal fusion is performed for chronic back pain that is unresponsive to nonsurgical treatment.
The spine is critical to the function of the human body. It supports much of the body’s weight and protects the spinal cord, which transmits information from the brain to the body and the body to the brain.
The spine is made up of vertebrae and has three main sections:
- Cervical (7 vertebrae)
- Thoracic (12 vertebrae)
- Lumbar (5 vertebrae)
The sacrum is below the lumbar spine and has five fused vertebrae. The coccyx or tailbone is beneath the spine.
Individual vertebrae are separated by discs, which act as cushions or shock absorbers between the vertebral bodies.
Spinal fusion can be considered as a treatment for a fractured vertebra; instability; some cervical disc herniations; relieving pain from painful motion; and correction of a deformity (such as scoliosis or spondylolisthesis). Your neurosurgeon would make the decision to use robotic-assisted minimally-invasive surgery based on your symptoms and medical history.
Like other minimally invasive procedures, robotic-assisted spine surgery usually results in a shorter hospital stay, less pain, and less scarring from smaller incisions. The technique also significantly reduces the level of radiation exposure for patients and the operating team.