Robotic surgery is becoming increasingly common in U.S. healthcare, from minor to major procedures. According to the Mayo Clinic, robotic surgery has seen rapid adoption because the surgeries are more precise and allow surgeons increased control. In addition, many robotic surgeries are less invasive, leading to less pain and blood loss, quicker recovery and smaller scars.
From 2012 to 2018, robotic surgeries increased significantly in the United States. JAMA Network Open published a study in January 2020 showing that the number of robotic surgeries increased from 1.8 percent of all surgeries in 2012 to 15.1 percent of all surgeries in 2018.
In Arkansas, hospitals and surgeons have followed this trend, using robotic surgeries to improve patient outcomes. Most recently, one surgeon was the first in Arkansas to use a new technology to perform a spinal surgery.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) became the first hospital to utilize the ExcelsiusGPS robotic spine navigation system during a “minimally invasive spinal surgery.” Noojan Kazemi, M.D., an associate professor of neurosurgery in the UAMS College of Medicine and director of the Spine Neurosurgery Program, performed the procedure.
“Accuracy has always been one of our biggest issues in spinal surgery, and it’s vitally important to the success of the patient’s experience after back surgery,” Kazemi said in a statement. “There are many important structures in that part of the body — the spinal cord, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, and so on — so we always need to optimize our surgical precision as much as possible. Robot-assisted surgery is helping us achieve that.”
According to Globus Medical, the robot manufacturer, the ExcelsiusGPS system combines “a rigid robotic arm and full navigation capabilities into one adaptable platform for accurate alignment in spine surgery.” Using navigation and robotics reportedly increases the accuracy for screw placement in surgery, as well as reducing the radiation exposure that is common during spinal surgeries.
“In minimizing our incisions and dissection pathway, we are able to allow faster recovery time and, hopefully, better and faster healing,” Kazemi. “For patients, this could mean less time in the hospital and a greater chance of returning to a fully functional life more quickly.”
The first surgeries performed using the ExcelsiusGPS system were performed at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City in 2017.
Image courtesy of Globus Medical