top of page
  • Alex Hattaway

Pedicle Screw Insertion: Why take Unnecessary Risks when the Technology already exists?

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

In 1984, Airbus launched the A320, the first commercial jet to use a digital fly-by-wire control system. At its introduction, fly-by-wire and flight envelope protection was a new experience for many pilots. Until then, the pilot was in charge of handling the controls using all the instruments and levers. Now, fly-by-wire computers acted by stabilizing the aircraft adjusting the flight characteristics without the pilot and even preventing him from operating outside the aircraft’s safe performance envelope.

This step was revolutionary for the commercial aircraft industry but mainly was a game changer and paradigm shift for pilots!

Before the technology evolved to fly-by-wire, there were good and bad pilots, better days and worse, but ultimately, the flight largely depended on their skills. The fly-by-wire control systems have made every pilot equally good by supporting them and making them avoid human errors.

Technology has changed how pilots do their job, making flying safer and more efficient than ever!

However, what does aviation have to do with the spine?

In spinal surgery, as the Airbus 320 was a game changer in aviation, robotics has been introduced to revolutionize this field. For more than 30 years, spine surgeons have inserted pedicle screws with the help of conventional X-rays using the free-hand technique. Due to their preparation, care and experience, it does not usually cause damage but are not exempt from high risks.

Why does safety when placing pedicle screws depend on the experience or surgeon’s concentration, and ultimately at the mercy of human error?

Robotics provides many benefits to the patient and the surgeon, but the first is safety. It offers surgeons increased precision while performing complicated procedural steps such as the pedicle screw insertion, enabling them to operate more effectively. With it, all surgeons are equal in excellence when placing the screws.

Additionally, robotics make the benefits of minimally invasive surgery available for many patients, saving time, blood loss, and unnecessary radiation.

Soon, in the days to come, we will remember with amazement how the gold standard was to place pedicle screws with a free-hand technique and without robotic assistance. It will also be hard to understand why insurance companies and hospitals in many countries were not more proactive in supporting and acquiring this technology.

Why take unnecessary risks when the technology already exists?

  • ExcelsiusGPS® Robotic Navigation platform

  • Accelus Robot

  • Cirq®

  • eCential CoBot

  • Mazor X Stealth Edition Robotic Guidance System

  • ROSA® robot

16 views0 comments


bottom of page