Doctors perform the world’s first robot-assisted spinal surgery

By Talha Saqib on
May 10, 2018
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A surgical procedure is not a child’s play. It demands extreme caution and skillset. Sometimes, even for the experts, the task could become so challenging that a single human error might cost a patient’s life. Therefore, there is a need for something that is capable of doing stuff that is not possible for a human to do and what else, that they do it flawlessly; without any kind of mistake.

This is where robots come in, but at the moment, the technology hasn’t gone that far that the doctors start trusting the machines entirely for the surgeries. However, as per the recent report, these robots can certainly assist the surgeons in doing their jobs. As such, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania performed the first robot-assisted spinal surgery by using Da Vinci’s robotic arms.

See also: This Pakistani neurosurgeon removed the spinal tumor of an 8-year old girl

The patient was 27-year-old Noah Pernikoff who had a rare tumor in his neck, where the spine meets the skull. There were two major concerns, first that the surgery doesn’t affect Noah’s spine at all as this could cause life-long paralysis and secondly, that each bit of the tumor gets removed so it won’t grow back by any chance.

The two-day surgery got done in three phases. It started with the neurosurgeons entering the patient’s neck and cutting the spine around the tumor. Then, for the removal of the tumor, three neck, and head surgeons used the surgical robot, through which they successfully extracted the rare tumor. Finally, the team reconstructed the part of spinal cord they removed by using Noah’s own bone.

Although the report just got publicized, the actual operation was back in August 2017. Now thankfully, the patient is recovered and back at work.

All in all, this is a great indication of technology helping humanity in conducting delicate tasks and in future, it can be hoped that robots can entirely handle the procedure without any form of assistance.

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Source: Engadget

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