Robotics: A boon for spine surgeons
Recent advancements in spine surgery have come in the form of robotics, a specialised approach to a complex procedure that allows planning surgery and facilitates highly accurate and predictable execution of the plan. Robotics is particularly helpful in inserting implants in the spine; for a spine surgeon, robotics is a boon and has marked the beginning of a new era in spine surgery.
The technology allows surgeons to use images from a computerised tomography scan (CT scan) taken before surgery to create a blueprint for each case. These images are loaded into a computerised 3D planning system so that in the operating room, surgeons do the physical surgery while the system guides his or her instruments based on pre-operative planning of spinal implant placement. During the surgery, the robot is placed near the patient either by attaching it to the bed or directly anchoring it to the spine of the patient.

Some of the benefits of using robotic assistance for spine surgery include:

1) Smaller incisions and better surgical accuracy: The robotic guidance system is an extension of the surgeon’s skills, and supports him or her throughout the procedure.

2) Less risk for surgical complications: Robotics systems come with navigation technology that helps visualise the progress of the surgery in real-time.

3) Less radiation exposure: Robotic surgery can reduce radiation exposure both for patients and the surgeon. Studies have revealed that there is 74% less radiation as compared to fluoroscopy and 50% less radiation as compared to navigation.

4) Shorter hospital stays: Surgery with the help of robotics ensures the patients undergo less physical strain. As a result, they recuperate faster. It also reduces the chances of revision surgeries.

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