How robots can drive growth in the MIS spine field: 5 key thoughts

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

A new article published in Spine examines the applications of robotics for minimally invasive spine procedures.

Here are five key trends.

1. Robotic technology in spine surgery can improve accuracy and procedure consistency, which is valuable for patient safety and workflow efficiency. They can also enable more surgeons to perform minimally invasive techniques because of the surgical precision.

2. Robotic platforms have the potential to reduce surgical morbidity because they could create workspace boundaries and reduce tremor, as well as potentially perform better at a distance, according to the article. "It is no longer a question of whether robotics has a role in spine surgery, but rather how and when," wrote Srinivas Prasad, MD, a neurosurgeon at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

3. The applications for robots are changing, and Dr. Prasad sees the biggest value coming from procedure-specific robotic solutions. "Developing solutions for only part of a surgery requires that surgeons do the procedure the way they always do, but bring a fairly expensive robot into the field for only part of the case. It is difficult to enjoy efficiency or morbidity improvements sufficient to justify the cost or workflow changes, although there is a marketing benefit to this model," he said.

4. In spine, robotics could evolve similarly to the introduction of robotics in laparoscopic procedures. Initially, the da Vinici platform didn't catch on because surgeons could perform laparoscopic procedures without the expensive robot; but the technology did bend the learning curve for surgeons to perform procedures such as laparoscopic prostatectomies and minimally invasive procedures.

5. Spine robots can level the playing field for surgeons to perform less invasive or more effective procedures. "No doubt, success in establishing a secure early foothold will fuel continued evolution in this exciting space," said Dr. Prasad.

More articles on spine surgery:
5 key points on why outpatient spine surgery is here to stay from Dr. Kern Signh
The best advice for entering the outpatient spine field
9 spine surgeons discuss their favorite MIS technology

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