World's first robot-assisted spinal surgery performed

Surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have completed the world's first robot-assisted spinal surgery. The procedure was a long and arduous one to remove a tumor from the neck of a 27-year-old man through his mouth. The procedure took over 20 hours in the operating room over two days.

Doctors working on the case feared the risk of paralysis due to the placement of the tumor in the neck of the patient. The operation required three phases with the first making a cut into the neck and spine around the tumor. The surgical robot was used in phase two to remove the tumor through the mouth of the patient.

In phase 3 the spinal column was reconstructed using a hip bone and rods for stability. The use of the trans-oral robot allowed doctors to stop relying on radiation to shrink the tumor and turn to surgery to completely remove it.

One of the doctors on the team says that this type of robotic-assisted surgery is exciting because it allows the switch from palliation for certain tumor types to seeking cures. This approach was also less traumatic for the patient leading to improved recovery.

The surgery took place in August of 2017 and the news is just now being made public. After nine months of recovery, the patient has returned to work and is said to be fully recovered.

SOURCE: Digital Trends