Englewood Health is first in N.J. to offer robot-assisted spine surgery

The next era of spine surgery is officially being practiced at Englewood Health. Englewood is the only hospital in New Jersey, and one of only 20 in the nation, to have advanced technology for robot-assisted spine surgery with GPS-like precision.

“Robot-assisted navigation can also help increase predictability of outcomes,” Dr. Asit Shah, chief of orthopedic surgery at Englewood Health, said in a statement. “It is like a GPS for the spine, which gives surgeons a very precise way to choose exactly where to place surgical hardware, such as metal screws.”

Spine surgery is frequently used to stabilize vertebral bones and spinal joints and relieve pressure on the nerves in the spine. Traditionally, spine surgery is performed either percutaneously (minimally invasive surgery) or open, and requires several types of imaging equipment for procedures.

The new technology — the Excelsius Ecosystem — gives surgeons an all-in-one imaging capability allowing enhanced visualization of the patient’s anatomy. The Excelsius Ecosystem is a robotic imaging and navigation platform that is able to perform surgery with minimally invasive techniques. It is not only beneficial to a patient, it improves implant placement accuracy, which translates into better outcomes.

At Englewood Health, spinal procedures such as lumbar or thoracic fusion will now be possible, thanks to the new technology. Patients with spine conditions such as degenerative disc disease, fractures, scoliosis, spinal stenosis and spinal tumors will benefit.

To be successful, spinal surgery requires highly accurate placement of surgical hardware used to hold vertebrae. The ExcelsiusGPS generates real-time information before and during the procedure, allowing surgeons to use robotic navigation to place screws and rods with a high level of precision anywhere from the cervical to the sacroiliac spinal regions.

“This technology takes us to the next era of spine surgery,” Dr. Kevin Yao, chief of neurosurgery at Englewood Health, said. “It facilitates more precise and more minimally invasive spine surgery, which will translate into shorter patient recoveries and better outcomes.

“Many spine surgeries that traditionally required large incisions can now be performed through slit-like openings. This is beneficial for patients, allowing them to mobilize more comfortably and sooner.”

Radiology images are taken on the day of surgery and imported into the Excelsius equipment. The surgeon then uses these images to determine the size and placement of implants and create a patient plan based on the patient’s anatomy. That plan is used by the surgeon to guide the robotic arm to a specific region of the spine and follow a pathway, like following a GPS. During the procedure, surgeons view live images and the established pathway to accurately place the implants using surgical instruments. The accuracy of hardware placement is then confirmed by 3D image before the patient leaves the operating room.