The pros and cons of robotic spine surgery


Robot-assisted spine surgery for orthopedic surgery is a widely used and relatively complex type of surgery.

Advantages of robotic spine surgery:

  1. Accurate placement of surgical built-ins: According to statistics, the accuracy rate of robot-assisted screw implantation is about 96.9%, while the accuracy rate of experienced spinal surgeons is about 92.7%. The spinal surgery robot significantly improves the accuracy of screw placement and reduces complications such as spinal nerve injury.
  2. Reduced radiation exposure: With intraoperative 3D imaging, screws are placed only in the direction guided by the robotic needle, which significantly reduces the radiation dose during surgery.
  3. Reduced surgical time: The robot reaches the surgical site through the surgical plan and minimally invasive incision with good accuracy. Through the skillful operation of the surgeon and the accurate guidance of the spinal surgical robot, the surgical time can be significantly shortened.
  4. Reduced surgical incision: spinal surgery robot positioning is accurate, the surgeon only needs to locate the small part of the place incision, and if the positioning is inaccurate, often need to expand the incision to correct the change of location, at the same time the surgical robot can be avoided because of the difficulty of screw placement and turn to open surgery to place the screws may be.

Disadvantages of robotic spine surgery:

  1. Increased costs

From the surgeon’s point of view, the perioperative period will be lengthened, the pre-operative procedures will be increased, more time will be consumed during the surgery, and due to the use of computerized systems and software operations, some human errors may occur, such as the inability to provide very clear CT images, poor data entry by the surgeon, as well as updates to the software, and the surgeon’s learning curve issues. From the patient’s point of view, a more expensive procedure will be incurred.

  1. Remaining dependent on the doctor

Even if the patient pays for a more expensive surgery and theoretically achieves better results, the role of the doctor is still critical. Only an experienced doctor can work well with the robot and develop the best surgical plan according to each patient’s different situation; in other words, the robot is an advanced tool, but whether it works well or not still depends on the doctor.

  1. Effectiveness needs time to be verified

Robot-assisted spine surgery can indeed make spine surgery safer and simpler, however, it is still a new technology, the final results need time to consider, there is no large number of post-operative follow-up reports for reference.


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