LewisGale first in region to utilize robotic system for spine surgery

LewisGale is one of only five hospitals in the state of Virginia that have one

By Rachel Lucas - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

SALEM - A safer, more precise method for one of the most high-risk procedures, LewisGale Medical Center is now home to one of the newest advancements in spinal surgeries. 

LewisGale Medical Center is the first hospital west of Richmond to add a robotic system that surgeons can use to perform spine surgery.  

LewisGale is one of only five hospitals in the state of Virginia that have one.

This robotic arm, called the Mazor X, is changing the way patients will undergo spinal surgery, cutting down the time it takes to insert screws into the spinal cord and the risk involved, all while maximizing the precision of a difficult procedure.

Surgeons at LewisGale have been using other types of robotic systems for three years to perform general surgery, but Dr. James Leipzig, a LewisGale spine surgeon called the new Mazor X Robotic Guidance Platform "revolutionary.’"

"This is fairly perfect,” Leipzig said during a demonstration Friday.

"It brings new capabilities, so you know the key thing is saving time, saving surgical time, certainly saving anesthesia, cutting X-ray exposure by about 80 percent and just increasing the precision is incredible."

Leipzig has been at LewisGale since 1992 and is in his 28th year of practice as a spine surgeon. He said this is the most significant advancement he's seen.

"The Mazor Robot I feel is a quantum leap in any technology we've had," Leipzig said.

He said it’s such a dramatic difference that if he had to ever undergo spinal surgery, he would want this robotic arm doing the work.

"It’s a quantum leap in our capabilities. The increase in precision is incredible, and of course, with precision comes safety,” Leipzig said.

In the state of Virginia, he is only one of eight surgeon's who have undergone rigorous training to use it. He said Mazor’s technology has far surpassed one of the most current noninvasive techniques in the health care field in regards to spinal surgery.

Minimally invasive procedures with their smaller incisions can pose a challenge to surgeons due to the limited view of the patient’s anatomy, according to LewisGale. The Mazor X Robotic Guidance Platform helps to overcome this challenge with a 3D comprehensive surgical plan and analytics that give the surgeon comprehensive information and visualization before the surgery starts.

He theorized that in 10 years surgeons across the country would no longer perform surgeries using the traditional method.

LewisGale is a Top 100 Hospital in America for Spine Surgery based on patient outcomes, according to Heathgrades. LewisGale officials said the Mazor X Robotic Guidance Platform will help to continue its leadership in spine surgery excellence. 

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