If you have back pain, you’re not alone — it afflicts millions of people every year and is one of the top reasons Americans see 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, over 1.6 million spinal procedures are performed each year using surgical instruments such as screws.
Fortunately, advances in technology have made spine surgery more efficient, effective, and safer for patients.
Recognizing the prevalence of spinal surgery and the need for the best technology, Iredell Health System has acquired Medtronic’s Mazor X Stealth Edition Robotic Guidance 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 patients with the best possible care and ensuring they receive the best possible treatment.
“The hospital has put a lot of effort and money into keeping us at the cutting edge of patient care. The Mazor X Stealth represents a major step forward in providing patient care more effectively and safely,” said Peter D. Miller, neurosurgeon at the Iredell NeuroSpine Center, who uses the Mazor X Stealth.
To perform operations with this new robotic system, Miller had to complete training workshops in Austin, Texas and additional training at Iredell.
With precision and accuracy, the Mazor X Stealth Edition robotic guidance system helps Miller treat spinal disorders, including degenerative diseases and more complex deformities such as scoliosis.
“The Mazor X Stealth robot is a robotic arm and offers the ability to image the patient in 3D to allow for more accurate planning and instrument placement,” Miller said.
The Mazor X Stealth Edition platform enables planning during surgery, precise robotic guidance and real-time digital visualization of the patient’s spine during surgery.
Mazor X Stealth improves minimally invasive surgery
Miller typically performs minimally invasive surgery that uses a small incision and allows the muscle to recover faster.
“Most surgeons perform what we call an open procedure, where they make a large incision and strip the muscle on either side so they can better visualize the bones of the spine. This can damage the spinal muscles and it takes longer for the muscles to recover after surgery,” Miller said.
Compared to normal, open surgical procedures, minimally invasive surgery causes much less trauma to muscles and soft tissues and has a lower risk of infection. This is where the Mazor X Stealth Edition platform can offer its greatest advantages. With this new robot, Miller is able to see the patient’s anatomy even with a small incision through real-time 3D imaging.
How does it work?
Once the patient is placed on the operating table for surgery, the Mazor X Stealth scans the patient and creates a 3D image of the patient’s spine. Miller can then select the desired area on the 3D image and plan where to place the surgical instrument or screw. He can adjust and manipulate the position of the screw on the image to ensure it is placed correctly during the procedure.
Following this plan created by Miller, the robotic arm knows exactly where to go and at what angle to place the screw.
“This means that instead of making a big cut and stripping the entire muscle, we can make a small cut on the skin’s surface. The robot goes in exactly the right place and we can turn the screw without having to pull the muscle off,” he said.
Surgery using the Mazor X Stealth has been shown to minimize blood loss, reduce the risk of infection and shorten the length of time a patient stays in the hospital, allowing them to get back to life faster. It also exposes the patient to much lower doses of radiation.
Miller explains that the term “robotic surgery” can be associated with many misconceptions, but with the Mazor X Stealth he maintains complete control over the robot and the instruments used.
“There are several different robots where the surgeons don’t even touch the patient. It’s not that kind of robot,” Miller said. “This is a robotic arm that helps me where to go, but I still do all the steps of the surgery. For example, I drill the hole to put the screw in and insert the screw myself. The robot simply guides me to the best and safest position. And because the image is 3D, I can take it from the skin’s surface and not through an X-ray.”
Today, the Mazor X Stealth Edition Robotic Guidance System is only available in a small number of spine/orthodontic hospitals in the United States. Iredell Health System is proud to be among the first to offer our patients the latest in surgical technology to provide improved surgical care.
If you have a consultation with Dr. Peter Miller at Iredell NeuroSpine, please call 704-954-8277. Iredell NeuroSpine has offices in Statesville, Mooresville and Hickory.
Pictured: Dr. Peter Miller first uses Mazor X Stealth at Iredell Memorial Hospital.