Robots can increase spine surgery accuracy, neurosurgeon says


Neurosurgeon Anna Terry, MD, of Methuen, Mass.-based Holy Family Hospital, is one of a few physicians in the hospital's region trained to use a newly acquired surgical robot, The Eagle-Tribune reported Nov. 28.

The hospital added the ExcelsiusGPS robot for spine surgery, and it provides real-time data during procedures.

"Unlike other robots, the surgeon is actually directing the robot and is right next to it," Dr. Terry told the newspaper. "We think of the robot as an extension of ourselves — it’s not virtual reality."

Dr. Terry has worked as a neurosurgeon for seven and a half years and first learned to use robotic technology at Durham, N.C.-base Duke University. She also praised the robot for its ability to make spine surgery more accurate.

"I almost think of it as an extension of my arm," she said. "We’re all human and we all make mistakes, even surgeons, and we want to minimize that. We want to be able to be as reproducible as possible and have the robot be an extension of our brains and hands while we can eliminate errors."

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