Dr. Patrick Doherty of Yale Neurosurgery New London is a board-certified neurosurgeon and spine specialist. He has spent much of his medical career assisting in the development of innovative, effective, and less invasive surgical approaches for treating a variety of conditions that affect your neck and back.
Dr. Doherty explains the many benefits of robotic neck surgery and what you can expect during and after the procedure.
Robotic spine surgery is minimally invasive, requiring just a few button-hole size incisions rather than the long incision used in open or traditional spine surgery.
During robotic surgery, surgical instruments and a high-definition surgical camera are inserted through the small incisions and guided to the treatment site via advanced imaging technology.
This surgical approach reduces tissue trauma, decreases risk of infection and bleeding, and often speeds up healing time. Your hospital stay is also shorter, and home care is generally easier with fewer suture sites to manage and less muscle damage to overcome.
Most importantly, however, robotic surgery increases the accuracy and precision of spinal procedures. This greatly reduces the risk of irritating nearby nerves or causing unnecessary trauma to other components of the spine.
Notably, Dr. Doherty uses the ExcelsiusGPS® robotic platform, which includes superior GPS navigation technology. This feature further enhances his ability to accurately identify and reach the targeted treatment site.
Whenever possible, Dr. Doherty recommends robotic surgery due to the excellent control he has over even the smallest movements. This ensures proper spinal alignment throughout your procedure, which is crucial to a successful outcome.
A surgeon’s skill and experience with robotic procedures in general and the specific platform in use greatly increases the overall benefits.
Procedure details vary according to the condition being treated. Dr. Doherty discusses your surgery, expected outcomes, recovery time, and other specifics before scheduling the operation.
Usually, however, robotic surgery is performed in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. Long thin tubes (ports) attached to the robotic arm are inserted into small incisions, usually two or three. The camera, surgical instruments, screws, and other hardware are passed through the ports to the surgical field.
Positioned a few steps away from the operating table, Dr. Doherty guides every movement of the robotic arm with hand controls mounted on a console. Images transmitted via the camera to a high-definition monitor provide him with magnified views of the surgical site in your neck.
Once the surgery is complete, Dr. Doherty withdraws the instruments and ports and closes the incision sites, normally with just one or two stitches. You’ll spend time in recovery under medical observation until you wake up from the anesthesia.
The length of your hospital stay after robotic surgery depends on the condition being treated and your response to the procedure.
Detailed literature reviews indicate, however, that hospitalization following robotic spine surgery versus traditional operations are decreased by an average of four days.
Physical therapy to support your healing begins in the hospital, and outpatient rehab continues until your surgeon and physical therapist release you from the program.
It’s important to continue with the home exercises and other activities detailed during rehab. Your program is customized to help restore strength and flexibility to the muscles that support your cervical spine and may help prevent future problems.
For cutting-edge treatments that are designed to get you moving pain-free again as quickly as possible, schedule an evaluation at Yale Neurosurgery New London today.