A world-first operation using advanced software and clever robotics has demonstrated the benefits of a new approach to spinal surgery.

Last month, at The Valley Private Hospital in Melbourne, Dr David Edis used a breakthrough development in the Mazor Renaissance Robotic Guidance system to undertake an entire spinal operation with the patient lying on their side, reducing the time needed for the procedure.

‘‘This addition to the Mazor Renaissance system, the PROlat mounting option, means we don’t have to turn the patient face down halfway through the operation, Not doing ‘the flip’ saves about 60 minutes, which means less time under anaesthetic for the patient.’’ Dr Edis

Many degenerative problems of the spine occur when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae become damaged or diseased.

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We are at Apollo Navi Mumbai, India, watching a surgical robot in action and it is like a glimpse into a futuristic world.

Dr Agnivesh Tikoo, a spine surgeon, is demonstrating the latest developments in the world of medicine, and it is evident that it will not be long before robots start performing surgery.

But for now, the robots still need someone to be physically present in the theatre to key in instructions, and as Dr Tikoo demonstrates, we are fascinated by what we are witnessing. He fires up a computer attached to the robot and once it comes on, the robot comes alive, and begins orienting itself to check that it is functioning properly.

Normally, the word robot evokes a sci-fi depiction of a human-like mechanical being, but the robot we are looking at is a small, flexible tube with thin arms inside.

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The website was last updated : 20 May 2019