Improving Spinal fusion surgery with robots


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Surgeons are improving spinal fusion surgery treatment with robots.

Jack Stone had a pinched nerve in his leg for four years but didn’t let it stop him from living an active lifestyle, until one day.

Stone said, The scariest thing was when my right leg would go completely numb, very unsettling.

He knew it was time to get help.

Stone said, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to live the next however many years I’ve got, 20 or 25 or 30 years in that physical condition.

Jack became one of the first patients in Chicago to undergo spine surgery with new robotic technology. Standard spine surgery requires more time and radiation.

Christopher J. DeWald, MD, Midwest Orthopedics at Rush, Assistant Professor, Director, Section of Spinal Deformity, Rush University Medical Center: Each time we’re taking an X-ray to make sure we like where the position is of the probe. And then we take an X-ray before we put the screw, and then we take another X-ray to make sure the screw is in the right location. And that’s a lot of extra radiation not only to the surgeon, but to the patient.

Instead, the Mazor (ma-zore) X system creates a blueprint of the patient’s spine and a robotic arm guides the surgeon as they place screws into the spine. This allows for less radiation, saved time, lower costs, increased safety, and more efficient placement of screws.

Doctor DeWald said, To me, it’s a homerun. 

Jack’s surgery was a success.

Stone said, I’m really pleased with the outcome, that’s the biggest thing. The numbness has gone away, what pain I had has completely gone away.

And he’s ready to get back to his active lifestyle.

The Mazor X system works by matching a cat scan of the spine with an X-ray, so surgeons can plan the placement of the screws on the cat scan ahead of time.

Doctor Dewald says the technology is great for both minimally invasive and more involved surgeries, such as spinal deformity. 

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