SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A neurosurgeon at Ochsner LSU Health is now the first physician in Louisiana to use the latest technology in robotic spine surgery.

According to the Mayo Clinic, robotic spine fusion surgery avoids moving patients for screw placement and is completed with patients in the prone position. The single position prone lumbar fusion surgery uses the Medtronic Mazor robot to treat disc problems in the lower back.

Typically, the procedure would be done in two parts, but this new technology makes the process safer and faster.

“Traditionally, when we do these operations, it’s as two separate operations,” said Dr. Stanley Hoang, Director of Advanced Spinal Technologies at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. “The first one is when the patient lies in a lateral position. And then they have to be turned in the prone position for the second part of the procedure. Now with the robot, it allows us to do everything in one position. So it saves time, it saves resources, and it makes surgery faster and more efficient. And also more safe.”

Dr. Hoang says the robotic spine fusion surgery is minimally invasive, which allows patients to recover faster with fewer complications and less pain. The machine helps guide the physician in placing screws to fuse the spine. Hoang says it’s similar to using a GPS.

Alfredo Guiroy, Research Director at Elite Spine Health and Wellness Center, published his findings in World Neurosurgery, comparing four studies of the two procedures by operating time, estimated blood loss, length of stay, change in segmental lordosis, and complications. All studies showed the single-position procedure tends toward shorter operating time and hospital stays and maintains similar outcomes.

Hoang says those suffering from back pain without success using physical therapy or pain management should see a neurosurgeon. This new procedure could get the patient back to normal activities in a much shorter time.