Robotic surgery helps treat spinal cord woes, says expert

Robotic surgery helps treat spinal cord woes, says expert
Robotic surgery helps treat spinal cord woes, says expert

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Robotic surgery ensures and has been proved to address spinal cord injuries and conditions, the most prevalent of which globally, is lower back pain (LBP), attributed to the permeating sedentary lifestyle.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Mohamad Bydon of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (USA), a participant online lecturer/panellist at the June 21 to 24 “Arab Health 2021” was email interviewed and shared four benefits of robotic surgery, leading not only to decrease healthcare spend and hospitalisation stay but, most importantly, allowing patients, their families and other support individuals enjoy quality of life.

Originally intended for long-distance trauma surgery in battlefield settings, the use of laparoscopes encouraged surgeons to seek for ways in making minimally invasive procedures more precise and accurate. It was in Aug. 1989 when the “high-tech medical device company Computer Motion was founded with the goal to revolutionise surgical practices and also improve patients’ lives,” according to the World Laparoscopy Hospital-India/UAE/USA website. That was 50 years after the idea of robotics in surgery arose, between the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“I presented on the related topic of quality in neurosurgery (involving the nervous system particularly the brain and the spinal cord),” said Bydon, a specialist in complex spine surgery, spinal oncology and minimally invasive spine surgery.

He mentioned that robot-assisted spine surgery is not 100 per cent free of risks namely pain, bleeding and infection. He said that prior and even during the surgery, patients have to be subjected to Computed Tomography imaging. He enumerated the four benefits as planning, instrumentation, shorter surgery time and more minimally invasive, and preservation of the patient’s natural anatomy of the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

“Robotics increases the accuracy of the surgery and allows precise pre-planning. It allows surgeons to take images of the patient and plan where the instrumentation should be since surgery involves the nerves and the spinal cord. The planning is a guarantee that the surgical plan is implemented with great accuracy. The instrumentation is the software that guides the robotic arm and places the hardware such as the screws and rods (in their proper positions). The screws and rods stabilise a segment of the spine that may be unstable and causing pain as a result of the instability,” Bydon explained.

According to the “Mayo Clinic Proceedings” and based on the Mayo Clinic 2018 to 2019 records, their surgeons had completed 200 robotic spinal surgeries of patients from around the world.

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