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MedStar surgeons use robotic GPS navigation to perform lateral lumbar interbody fusion

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Posted at 12:15 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 13:38:06-04

BALTIMORE — A team of surgeons at MedStar Orthopedic Institute, became the first in the mid-Atlantic region to successfully use robotic GPS navigation during a lateral lumbar interbody fusion.

Doctors Paul Asdourian and Paul McAfeea made a side incision to replace two discs and align the spine of a 55-year old woman, who had been suffering from degenerative disc disease and arthritis in the lower back that prevented her from being able to stand up straight.

Normally, the spine is accessed through the abdomen or through a large incision in the back.

“Going in through the patient’s side means you don’t have to cut through as many muscles or surrounding tissue, there’s significantly less blood loss and the incision is smaller,” said Dr. McAfee, a pioneer of the LLIF technique.

Instead the physicians were able to use the ExcelsiusGPS technology to safely and accurately remove the damaged discs and insert spacer bone grafts to separate vertebrae which lifted pressure off pinched nerves.

The implanted bone graft aims to bridge both bones to promote fusion, which in three to six months should grow new bone cells around the graft and fuse the two vertebrae together into one piece of bone.

Patients may be a candidate for LLIF if they’ve been diagnosed with:

  • degenerative disc disease
  • low-grade spondylolisthesis
  • mild to moderate scoliosis
  • symptoms that do not improved with physical therapy or medication

Patients may not be a candidate for the procedure if they have any of the following:

  • damaged disc at L5-S1, because the hip bone blocks access
  • severe spondylolisthesis or scoliosis
  • other problems that would prevent bone fusion
  • prior abdominal surgery near the kidneys

For more information on robotic navigation lateral lumbar interbody fusion, or to schedule an appointment, call 410-554-2175.