If you have back pain, you are not alone – it torments millions of people every year and is one of the main reasons Americans visit their doctor. Some of those with severe back pain may even need spinal surgery to relieve the discomfort. In fact, according to an iData research report, more than 1.6 million spinal procedures are performed each year using surgical instruments such as screws.
Fortunately, technological advances have made spinal surgery more efficient, effective, and safe for patients.
Understanding the proliferation of spinal surgery and the need for the best technology, Iredell Health System acquired Medtronic’s Mazor X Stealth Edition robotic targeting platform. The healthcare system is the first in Iredell County to offer this state-of-the-art technology for spinal surgery.
Investing in this new robotic technology is part of an ongoing commitment to providing the highest quality care to patients, ensuring that they receive the best possible treatment.
“The hospital is investing a lot of effort and money to keep us at the forefront of patient care. Mazor X Stealth is a big step forward in enabling us to care for patients more efficiently and safely, ”said Peter D. Miller, a neurosurgeon at the Iredell NeuroSpine Center that uses Mazor X Stealth.
To operate this new robotic system, Miller had to take training courses in Austin, Texas, and additional training at Iredell.
With precision and accuracy, the Mazor X Stealth Edition robotic guidance system assists Miller in treating spinal diseases, including degenerative conditions and more complex deformities such as scoliosis.
“The Mazor X Stealth robot is a robotic arm and includes the ability to depict the patient in 3D for more accurate planning and placement of instruments,” said Miller.
The Mazor X Stealth Edition platform allows surgery planning, precise robot targeting and real-time digital visualization of the patient’s spine during surgery.
Mazor X Stealth improves minimally invasive surgery
Miller usually performs minimally invasive surgery, which uses a small incision and allows the muscle to recover faster.
“Most surgeons do what we call an open procedure that makes a large incision and removes muscle on both sides so they can better visualize the bones in the spine. This can damage the spinal muscles and take longer to repair the muscles after surgery, “Miller said.
Compared to regular, open surgical procedures, minimally invasive surgery causes far fewer muscle and soft tissue injuries and is less likely to be infected. This is where the Mazor X Stealth Edition platform can provide its greatest benefits. With this new robot, Miller can see the patient’s anatomy, even with a small incision, through 3D images in real time.
How it works?
Once the patient is placed on the operating table, Mazor X Stealth scans the patient and creates a 3D image of the patient’s spine. Miller can then select the area of interest for the 3D image and plan where to place the surgical instrument or screw. It can adjust and manipulate the position of the screw on the image to ensure that it will be placed correctly during the procedure.
Following this plan, created by Miller, the robotic arm will know exactly where to go and at what angle to place the screw.
“This means that instead of making a big incision and removing the whole muscle, we can make a small incision on the surface of the skin. “The robot is going to the right place and we are able to put the screw in without having to remove a muscle,” he said.
Surgery using Mazor X Stealth has been shown to minimize blood loss, reduce the chance of infection, and reduce a patient’s length of hospital stay, allowing them to return to life faster. It also exposes the patient to much lower doses of radiation.
Miller explains that the term “robotic surgery” may come with many misconceptions, but with Mazor X Stealth he maintains complete control over the robot and the tools used.
“There are several different robots, some of which surgeons do not even touch the patient. This is not such a robot, “Miller said. “It’s a robotic arm that guides me where to go, but I still follow all the steps of the operation. For example, I drill a hole to insert the screw and install the screw myself. The robot simply directs me to the best and safest position. And since the image is 3D, I can do it from the surface of the skin, not through an X-ray.
Today, the Mazor X Stealth Edition robotic guidance system is only available in a small number of vertebrate / orthological hospitals in the United States. Iredell Health System is proud to be among the first to offer the latest surgical technology to our patients to provide improved surgical care.
Find out more
If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Peter Miller at Iredell NeuroSpine, please call 704-954-8277. Iredell NeuroSpine has offices in Statesville, Moorsville and Hickory.
Pictured: Dr. Peter Miller uses Mazor X Stealth for the first time at Iredell Memorial Hospital.