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Initiation of a Robotic Program in Spinal Surgery

Experience at a Three-Site Medical Center
Published:December 28, 2020DOI:



      To highlight the early experience of implementing a robotic spine surgery program at a three-site medical center, evaluating the impact of increasing experience on the operative time and number of procedures performed.

      Patients and Methods

      A retrospective chart review of patients undergoing robotic screw placement between September 4, 2018, and October 16, 2019, was conducted. Baseline characteristics as well as intraoperative and post-operative outcomes were obtained.


      For a total of 77 patients, the mean age (SD) was 55.7 years (11.5) and 49.4% (n=38) were female. A total of 402 screws were placed (384 pedicle screws, 18 cortical screws) using robotic guidance with a median of two operative levels (interquartile range [IQR], 1 to 2). Median (IQR) estimated blood loss was 100 mL (50 to 200 mL) and the median (IQR) operative time was 224 minutes (193 to 307 minutes). With accrual of surgical experience, operative time declined significantly (R=-0.39; P<.001) whereas the number of procedures performed per week increased (R=0.30; P=.05) throughout the study period. Median (IQR) length of hospital stay following surgery was 2 days (IQR, 2 to 3 days). There were two screws requiring revision intraoperatively. No postoperative revisions were required, and no complications were encountered related to screw placement.


      Early experience at our institution using a spinal robot has demonstrated no requirement for postoperative screw revisions and no complications related to screw malposition. The increased operative times were reduced as the frequency of procedures increased. Moreover, procedural times diminished over a short period with a weekly increasing number of procedures.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      CT (computerized tomography), IQR (interquartile range), LOS (length of stay)
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