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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2011;109:241-5. doi: 10.1007/978-3-211-99651-5_38.

Robotic technology in spine surgery: current applications and future developments.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Ismaningerstr. 22, 81675 München, Germany.


Medical robotics incrementally appears compelling in nowadays surgical work. The research regarding an ideal interaction between physician and computer assistance has reached a first summit with the implementation of commercially available robots (Intuitive Surgical's® da Vinci®). Moreover, neurosurgery--and herein spine surgery--seems an ideal candidate for computer assisted surgery. After the adoption of pure navigational support from brain surgery to spine surgery a meanwhile commercially available miniature robot (Mazor Surgical Technologies' The Spine Assist®) assists in drilling thoracic and lumbar pedicle screws. Pilot studies on efficacy, implementation into neurosurgical operating room work flow proved the accuracy of the system and we shortly outline them. Current applications are promising, and future possible developments seem far beyond imagination. But still, medical robotics is in its infancy. Many of its advantages and disadvantages must be delicately sorted out as the patients safety is of highest priority. Medical robots may achieve a physician's supplement but not substitute.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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