Dr. Roger Hartl: The development of robotics and future trends in spine

Written by Alan Condon | August 12, 2019 | Print  |

Roger Hartl, MD, is a professor of neurological surgery and director of spine surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. He is also director of the Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Comprehensive Spine Care.

Here, Dr. Hartl discusses the future of robotics and what he sees as the next big trend in spine.

Question: How do you see robotics developing in spine? 

Dr. Roger Hartl: The use of robotics in spinal surgery is at its very beginning. I have no doubt that over time this will evolve into a prominent role for spinal instrumentation surgery. Currently we are still struggling with issues of workflow. Robotics fall under the bigger category of stereotactic navigation; the combination with more traditional navigation and other technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality will be important in order to take full advantage of this technology.

Q: What do you see as the next big trend in spine?

RH: In my opinion the next big trend in spine will be a more targeted approach for minimally invasive spinal surgery. We need to obtain a better understanding of which patients benefit the most from minimally invasive surgery. Endoscopic surgery will play a very important part especially in conjunction with more complex pathologies. The integration of biologics for disc regeneration, disc repair, and maybe even total disc replacement is evolving. Eventually I envision a combination of better diagnostic and therapeutic understanding of spinal pathologies, and integration of minimally invasive surgery and biologics.

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