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Advances in Robotics: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Benefits Patients

Autumn Years reports HSS patient Michael Nestler had a successful spinal fusion and removal of a bone spur performed by spine surgeon James E. Dowdell III, MD.

The pain that Mr. Nestler experienced as a result of a bone spur pressing on his spine was mostly felt in his foot. Dr. Dowdell explained, “It’s not uncommon for a lower back problem to masquerade as a hip, knee or ankle problem.”

Mr. Nestler benefited from the latest innovations in spine surgery: robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery and computer navigation. Advances in surgical techniques and technology allow for a more precise and targeted surgery, according to Dr. Dowdell.

“The use of very small incisions preserves muscles and other structures surrounding the spine, so patients generally experience less pain after surgery, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to activities compared to traditional open surgery,” he noted.

Since the surgery, Mr. Nestler is now pain-free and back to participating in many of his favorite activities.

Darren R. Lebl, MD, MBA, spine surgeon at HSS who has conducted studies on the new robotic technologies, said, “The use of a robotic arm, along with 3D imaging and navigation technology similar to GPS, allow for pinpoint accuracy in the placement of hardware, enhancing the accuracy and predictability of the surgery.”

This article appeared in the Fall 2021 print edition and online at Omagdigital.com.