BENEFITS OF ROBOTIC-GUIDED ENDOSCOPIC SPINE SURGERY
Robotic-guided endoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive procedure which means that patients can reap the benefits of a smaller incision, less tissue damage and a smaller amount of blood loss. This, in turn, helps them recover more quickly from their procedure and get back to regular, active life.
As a powerful subset of minimally invasive spine surgery, one of the main benefits of endoscopic spine surgery is the fact that it requires a very small incision, usually less than one inch.
A common misconception about incisions is that they’re just used to break the skin and open up the interior of the body, kind of like cutting your finger with a knife. This isn’t actually the case. To a surgeon, an incision is the act of cutting through the skin and through the underlying tissue (including muscle) in order to access the affected portion of the body.
Large incisions, which are common in open spine surgery, are problematic because they force surgeons to cut through and pull back more muscle and soft tissue than is actually necessary. It’s typically done so that surgeons can see the spine with their naked eyes and operate carefully around the nerve roots that exit from the spinal column. However modern technology has made this methodology obsolete and completely unnecessary.
Affecting more anatomy than is absolutely required can make recovery more painful and extend it dramatically.
Physicians who specialize in endoscopic spine surgery use what is known as a keyhole, or laparoscopic incision. This means that they create an opening just large enough to allow their surgical instruments to fit into the body; nothing more.
By opening up less of the back, patients are better protected from excessive blood loss, infection, misplaced surgical instruments while still giving surgeons the visualization they need to perform the surgery safely and accurately.
IMPROVED SURGICAL ACCURACY
As mentioned previously, robotic guidance allows surgeons to attain accuracy during surgery that is simply unattainable by the human hand. This, coupled with the fact that they are able to clearly see everything that’s happening where they’re operating and are able to work in a position that’s comfortable to them means that they are able to focus solely on the surgery at hand.
Studies have found that surgeons who use robotic guidance are accurate to a degree of 1.5 millimeters. For scale, that’s slightly smaller than the width of a quarter.
This accuracy is absolutely essential when working in the area of the body because surgeons are often operating around some of the most complex and critical components in the body including nerves and major arteries. There is simply no room for error or lack of accuracy when dealing with such vital systems.
LESS ANAESTHESIA AND INTRAOPERATIVE RADIATION
Because surgeons are able to work through such a small incision in the back, they don’t need to give patients as much general anesthesia and, because they’ve already pre-mapped out their operation they don’t need to take as many intra-operative scans.
This is an incredible benefit for patients because, despite the fact that complications arising from anesthesia or intraoperative radiation are very rare, it simply removes another risk factor from the operation.
For many patients, post-operative recovery can be one of the most difficult parts of their surgery. The truth is that every surgery, regardless of its level of invasiveness, has an impact on the body and will require some time to heal.
However, minimally invasive techniques can help shorten the amount of a time a patient has to stay in the hospital and speed up their recovery time dramatically.
In the past, patients were expected to spend at least 2-3 days recovering in the hospital after their surgery. Now, thanks to better technology and minimally invasive techniques, patients can walk out of the hospital, often pain-free, the day of their surgery.
Additionally, it used to take patients an estimated 3-4 months of rest and recovery to fully heal from their spine surgery. This often meant that they weren’t able to exercise strenuously, couldn’t work a job that required manual labor and were on pain-relieving medication for months after their operation.
With minimally invasive techniques, however, patients can expect to make a full recovery in an average of 6 weeks or less with rehabilitation.