LewisGale has new robotic spine surgery

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - LewisGale in Salem has something only four other hospitals in the state of Virginia have: a robot that helps surgeons perform spine surgery.

It's a new tool that's helping patients and doctors.

"We've taken just really a few moments to do what can sometimes take almost an hour or more," James Leipzig, a LewisGale Spine Surgeon, said.

But this robot doesn't just cut down on surgery time.

Leipzig added, "I think it's a quantum leap in our capabilities. The increase in precision is incredible and of course with precision comes safety. The marked reduction of radiation exposure is really important."

It's called the Mazor X Robotic Guidance Platform, and it launched almost a month ago. The advanced software allows surgeons to make a 3D plan and get most of the work done ahead of time.

Leipzig explained, "We can see the anatomy about bone spurs and such like that and where we want the screw heads to lie. We can line them up so that we can plan our incision and we can make sure on all the different views that the screw is, and just take my word for it, is there, is completely within bone, of course not going near a nerve."

After the surgeons finish planning, the robot hand is sent to where the surgeons want it, and they place a power drill into the body to start the surgery.

This is a safer solution to a complicated surgery and one that Dr. Leipzig says is the future.