Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Allegheny Health Network Physicians Perform Pennsylvania’s First Robotic-Assisted Spine Surgeries Using Innovative Technology

Pioneering Mazor X™ System Provides Minimally Invasive Treatment Option for Debilitating Spine Conditions, Offered Exclusively at Allegheny General, Forbes and Saint Vincent Hospitals

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Surgeons at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) have become the first in Pennsylvania to perform robotic-assisted, minimally invasive spine surgery using a sophisticated, new technology called the Mazor X™ system. The first procedure was performed at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) by Donald Whiting, MD, Chair of AHN’s Neuroscience Institute.

The Mazor X system utilizes enhanced analytical tools, precision guidance, optical tracking, and intra-operative verification capabilities to make spine surgery safer and less invasive for patients. The technology combines a suite of pre-operative analytics software designed to assess spinal alignment and implement computerized 3D surgical planning. Intra-operative guidance is provided to surgeons through a robotic surgical arm designed to guide tools and synergistic implants according to the pre-operative analytics. 

“Our surgical team is among the most experienced and skilled in the country for the treatment of injuries to the spine,” said Dr. Whiting. “Mazor X greatly enhances the capabilities of our surgeons to help us achieve the best possible outcomes for patients undergoing spine surgery, including less post-operative pain, fewer complications and a quicker recovery. We are extremely pleased to be able to offer this innovative surgical option to patients in the western Pennsylvania region.”

The Mazor X system can be used to treat a host of conditions like spinal stenosis, scoliosis and spondylolisthesis that often cause debilitating symptoms, such as low back pain, leg pain and sciatica. 

The technology can improve outcomes from spinal fusion procedures, or the process of fusing two or more vertebrae together to create a single continuous bone. Used to treat broken vertebrae, spinal deformities or spinal instability, surgeons often implanted metallic plates, screws or rods to hold and graft the bone to promote healing. An estimated 500,000 Americans undergo the procedure each year for low back pain alone.

According to Dr. Whiting, spinal fusion has traditionally been done using an open technique in which patients are susceptible to larger incisions and scars, increased blood loss, and longer hospital stays.

While less invasive techniques have helped minimize the trauma of surgery, many intraoperative X-rays are typically required without a guidance system to compensate for a surgeon’s compromised visualization.

Among its many potential benefits, the Mazor X system promises to reduce the risk of exposure to radiation from X-ray imaging typically used during surgery.

Compared to conventional open spine procedures, Mazor Robotics reports that patients who have undergone minimally invasive surgery with its technology experienced a 27 percent reduced average length of hospital stay, a 48 percent less complication rate, and a 46 percent reduced need for a revision procedure.

“The ability to pre-plan a patient’s spine surgery using Mazor X’s sophisticated 3D software allows us to create the ideal procedure for every patient’s individualized condition. It’s an optimal approach to treating patients who suffer from a variety of spine disorders, and enables us to help more patients recover sooner and return to their daily activities without the pain and discomfort that they previously faced,” said Terrence Julien, MD, a neu