How to build a spine robotics program: Q&A with Dr. Stuart Kinsella

Featured Insights

Stuart Kinsella, MD, joined The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., on May 1, and a key element of his role will be building the robotics spine program at one of the practice's partner hospitals.

Dr. Kinsella spoke with Becker's about the job and his outlook on robotics in spine surgery.

Question: What are your top three goals at The Steadman Clinic?

Dr. Stuart Kinsella: I hope to develop a successful robotic spine program at Aspen (Colo.) Valley Hospital. I hope to serve the community and offer care that they otherwise wouldn't have access to. And I hope to help further progress the use of navigation and robotics in spine surgery. 

Q: Are you the first to bring robotic spine surgery at Aspen Valley Hospital?

SK: I am the first to bring robotic spine surgery to Aspen Valley Hospital. I was successful in bringing robotic spine surgery to the local hospital at my last practice, and am excited to embark on a similar journey with The Steadman Clinic at Aspen Valley Hospital.

Q: What challenges are you expecting with that?

SK: Given the geography of the area, there is quite a bit of legwork that needs to be done to ensure the safest possible surgery, because access to resources can be limited. Reliable backup plans are essential in safe spine surgery, and ensuring that they are employable can be a challenge in a place where factors outside of my control — like the weather — may limit access. In addition, when introducing this kind of novel technology to this community and hospital, it's important to educate the administration, staff and community prior to effective implementation. Education about the capabilities of the technology, as well as the technical aspects of how it works, is essential. We are making great progress. The Globus Medical representatives have been very helpful in assisting with training. The Steadman Clinic and Aspen Valley Hospital have also been helpful in community awareness to this wonderful new resource. The attention and energy from everyone involved in developing this spine program is invigorating.

Q: What's your own personal experience with ExcelsiusGPS?

SK: My initial exposure to robotic spine surgery came during training, where I saw the power of the technology to provide precise and reproducible outcomes. When I started practice in Florida, I surveyed the landscape of available platforms and found the Globus ExcelsiusGPS platform to be the most surgeon-friendly and reliable. I subsequently established the first Globus ExcelsiusGPS program on the east coast of Florida, and have now performed over 100 robotic spine surgeries with excellent results.

Q: How do you see robotic spine surgery developing in the next few years?

SK: I think it has become evident through the range of robotic platforms now available that robotic spine surgery is here to stay. We have seen improved outcomes as a result of the technology. In the next few years, I see an increase in the breadth of cases that may be assisted robotics, and improvements in the visualization of biomedical devices in the disc space. Interbody devices can now be navigated, but there is work to do on improving the accuracy of intradiscal visualization. Ultimately, one might see true robotic assistance in the placement of such interbody devices. 

Q: What advice would you give to spine surgeons who are looking to bring robotic spine technology to their regions?

SK: I think when everyone involved with bringing a robotic spine platform to a region realizes the benefits of the technology and invests in its potential, the process will be successful. Directly relaying your excitement for the improvement in surgical outcomes that the technology affords to your hospital and community helps garner support.

Q: What other spine technologies are catching your eye?

SK: Expandable interbody device technology certainly excites me. Any technology that allows for more precise improvement in balance and alignment in the spine is of interest to me. I am also interested in recent advances in microscopy beyond traditional lens-based microscopes to improve ergonomics and visualization.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers