Recent advances in medical technology tend to excite healthcare professionals — but at the same time, they can intimidate patients who don’t fully understand it. One example is the emergence of robots that perform surgical procedures. The idea of a machine performing or assisting in surgical procedures normally performed by humans is enough to evoke concern, especially when it comes to spinal procedures. When we utilize this technology for some of our surgical candidates, we sometimes hear the question, “Is robotic spine surgery safe?”
The answer is an overwhelming “yes.” Here are some important reasons why.
Robots Make Calculations, not Decisions
The robotic arm used to position screws and instruments is responding to precise calculations made by your surgeon — it’s not replacing the job of the surgeon in any way. Your doctor makes all decisions and remains in complete control. Like any other tool used in surgery, the robot simply helps the surgeon do his job more efficiently and safely. (Think of it as a very advanced extension of the surgeon’s hand.)
Greatly Improved Accuracy
Robotic surgery is actually safer than conventional surgery — especially in surgeries requiring extreme precision. This is because robots place implants with much greater accuracy than a doctor’s hand can. A recent study of more than 3000 robot-involved implant procedures found an overall accuracy rate of 98.3 percent. For hand-guided implants, even the best spinal surgeons rarely get above 91 percent. For the patient, this improved accuracy means smaller incisions and more effective placement. With Polaris’ newest addition, the Excelsius GPS®, the accuracy rate is even enhanced because it uses GPS navigation technology to adapt to the patient’s slightest movements during placement.
Smaller Incisions Means Reduced Risk of Infection and Quicker Recovery
Robotic surgery makes minimally invasive procedures even less invasive. Every procedure involving an incision presents some risk of infection. The smaller the incision, the lower the risk. The improved accuracy of robot-assisted procedures means incisions are smaller, reducing the risk of infection. It also means reduced inflammation at the incision site, meaning patients can recover faster.
At Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center, we are committed to utilizing the most advanced tools possible to help improve our patients’ chances of recovery and overall health. This is why we are proud to be the first outpatient clinic in the Southeast, and the second in the country, to utilize Excelsius GPS in precision spine surgery procedures. To learn more about robotic spine surgery and its benefits, give us a call at 404-256-2633.