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Robotic & Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Many spine and back surgeries can now be performed using minimally invasive and robotic techniques, which can have many advantages to patients, including less blood loss and faster healing.

Minimally invasive and robotic surgery requires much smaller incisions than traditional open surgeries and uses specialized instruments like microscopes and special cameras called endoscopes.  Many surgeries can now be performed using minimally invasive techniques, which can have many advantages to patients, including less blood loss and faster healing. 

Common Minimally Invasive Procedures

Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusions

Minimally invasive lumbar fusion can be performed through the abdomen, from the back, or from the side – or using a combination of these entry points.  Guided by a micro-sized video camera and using small incisions, the surgeon removes the damaged intervertebral disc, the gel-like cushion that sits between the vertebrae and acts as a shock absorber for the back.
The bones are fused permanently together with a graft, which can be accomplished in different ways. Bone graft material can be placed over the spine or between the vertebrae, or a special cage can be packed with the material and inserted between the vertebrae. Rods and screws may also be required for additional support.
The minimally invasive technique causes much less damage to the surrounding muscles, which means less pain. The incisions can usually be sealed using surgical glue, which results in only a small scar.  The recovery time is typically much shorter than with an open procedure.  Also, there is generally less need for narcotic pain medications and patients can leave the hospital much sooner.

Lumbar Spine Surgery with da Vinci Si Robotic Surgical System

This new revolutionary and innovative robotic approach offers a minimally invasive alternative to the commonly performed ALIF surgery that typically has longer hospital stays and more blood loss when performed with traditional methods.

The da Vinci Si Surgical System allows surgeons to see in a three-dimensional plane, providing multi-angle views. This is an enhancement beyond the standard laparoscopic and open techniques. An anterior fusion on the lumbar (lower) spine is a common surgery for various conditions, such as degenerative disk disease. The surgery stabilizes anterior lumbar spine by fusing the bones together permanently either with a bone graft or an implantable cage.

Dr. Luciano (Lou) DiMarco, general surgeon,  William Beutler, MD, neurosurgeon, and Walter Peppelman, DO, orthopedic and spine surgeon, worked collaboratively to perform (and make history) for the first ever published and completed spinal fusion surgery with the da Vinci Si Surgical System in March of 2012.

Other Minimally Invasive Spinal Procedures

PinnacleHealth surgeons perform many types of minimally invasive procedures to relieve pain from bone spurs, pinched nerves, spinal stenosis and more. 

Learn more about  Laminotomy, Discectomy and Foraminotomy>>

The Recovery

These procedures are done on an outpatient basis and do not typically require an overnight hospital stay. Most patients require only a few stitches at the incision site.