The Main Stream

Aug 3, 2010 10:55 AM

Robot may treat back pain

TUCSON - A new robotic tool is changing the lives of people with back pain one surgery at a time.

The SpineAssist is the only surgical robot that operates on bone. There are only three of them in the country.

Dr. Isador Lieberman said, "The robot is a device that helps us be more efficient and accurate in the operating room."

It works in two ways. First, there's the software that helps plan the surgery. "Much like a pilot who's planning his flight path ahead of time," Lieberman explained. Then, there's the robot. Its job is to implement the plan the doctors have created ahead of the surgery.

"So, in the operating room, the robot is mounted onto the patient's spine, and then we direct the robot to move from point A to point B according to that pre-operative plan so we can place the screws and rods more efficiently and accurately." That, Lieberman says, leads to a better correction of the spine.

The SpineAssist technology has been used in more than 1,000 cases worldwide with no instances of nerve damage.

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