Your spine is a complex structure that holds up your head and upper body. It supplies the support you need to stand and the flexibility required to bend and twist. It also protects your spinal cord, which runs through the spinal column and houses the spinal nerves your brain uses to communicate with peripheral nerves that extend throughout your body.
The complex and hard-working nature of your spine makes it vulnerable to damage, which can affect the nerves, bones, and other tissue structures within the spine. If you’re struggling with back pain and other symptoms that haven’t responded to medication, physical therapy, or other conservative treatments, surgery may be your best option.
Patrick Doherty, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon and renowned spine expert who leads our team at Yale Neurosurgery New London. Dr. Doherty also specializes in robotic spine surgery. This advanced surgical approach requires a higher level of training and clinical experience but allows for greater precision during delicate spinal surgeries and typically provides greater patient comfort during recovery because it’s minimally invasive.
Robotic spine surgery is probably better described as robotic-assisted surgery since it’s the surgeon and not a robot performing the procedure. The robotic technology is housed in an arm with attached surgical instruments that Dr. Doherty controls throughout the procedure.
Traditional spine surgery requires a large incision that must travel through skin, muscle, and other tissue to fully expose the spine. Robotic-assisted spine surgery is minimally invasive and requires only very small incisions, through which surgical instruments and a tiny high-definition camera are inserted.
The camera provides a live view of the surgical site. The robotic assist provides greater maneuverability, flexibility, and precision than is possible with traditional surgery.
Dr. Doherty performs robotic-assisted surgery with the ExcelsiusGPS® platform, which also improves accuracy and optimizes patient care by using robotic and navigation technology that works much like a GPS in your car.
Every patient is unique, but the minimally invasive nature of robotic spine surgery typically results in:
If your condition has not responded to conservative therapy, Dr. Doherty may recommend robotic spine surgery for:
Robotic spine surgery may also be used to treat traumatic spine injuries.
If you’re struggling with back or neck pain or have been told you need surgery, schedule a visit at Yale Neurosurgery New London. Call our office today or request an appointment online.