Over 300 robotic-assisted spine surgeries in Louisville performed with the Mazor X | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Over 300 robotic-assisted spine surgeries in Louisville performed with the Mazor X

Robotic surgical systems can help patients feel better faster

Norton Healthcare has completed its 340th spinal fusion surgery using the Mazor X robotic-assisted surgical system. Robotic-assisted technology can help reduce pain and make recovery time shorter following spine surgery.

The purchase of the system was made possible in 2018 with funding from Norton Healthcare and the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation. The move came after a successful trial with the robotic-assisted technology, led by Jeffrey L. Gum, M.D., orthopedic spine surgeon with Norton Leatherman Spine. The system is used for adults and children needing surgery to correct a variety of spine issues.

How the technology works

Robotic technology has been used in hip and knee replacements and has moved into the world of spine surgery. The most recent version, the Mazor X Stealth Edition (XSE) system uses enhanced imaging software and positioning capabilities to help surgeons map out a plan before surgery and minimize tissue damage. It increases the accuracy of screw placement, as well as improving the overall efficiency of the surgery.

“It’s all about the angle in which the screws are placed that helps us reduce muscle stripping,” Dr. Gum said.

Because Mazor X guides the screws, the size of the incision decreases from almost 5 inches to less than 2 inches. This contributes to generally less pain and usually a faster recovery. That can result in less opioid consumption and fewer medical complications down the road.

The average length of stay for Norton Leatherman Spine patients who underwent single-level lumbar fusion surgery was 3.5 days and has improved to 1.5 days using the robotic-assisted system.

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Experience counts

It’s important to remember that like many machines such as cars or computers, the expertise of the driver makes all the difference. The Mazor X requires an experienced team.

Dr. Gum has been performing robotic surgery since 2016 and has performed more than 335 cases using the robotic-assisted technique. He and a surgeon in Virginia were the first in the world to use the Mazor XSE robotic system in spine surgery, in January 2019.

In addition to using the technology for lumbar and thoracic cases, Dr. Gum also has used the robotic system in children with scoliosis.

“In the next 50 years, this is what’s going to change the face of spine surgery,” Dr. Gum said. “I truly believe it’s going to revolutionize the future, and I’m excited to be a part of this movement.”


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