Robots are still considered to be in their infancy in spine surgery, but most surgeons agree they will have a critical role to play in the future of the specialty. However, certain challenges remain.
Twelve spine surgeons from health systems and private practices across the country detail the improvements they want to see in the next generation of spine surgical robots.
Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. Becker’s invites all spine surgeon and specialist responses.
Question: What’s one improvement you would like to see for the next generation of spine robots?
Todd Lanman, MD. Lanman Spinal Neurosurgery and the Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center (Beverly Hills, Calif.): The spine surgical robotic systems are primarily designed for pedicle screw insertion and guiding the screws robotically into the bone for fixation, both of which are done posteriorly. However, these robots are not currently designed to tackle artificial disc replacement, which is done anteriorly. Without this improvement, spine surgical robotic systems will not be nearly as useful in ADR as they could be. I have spoken to several companies about developing image-guided surgical techniques and robotics that would help spine surgeons align the artificial disc in the correct locations as they approach from the front (anterior) of the spine.