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Robotic-Assisted Spine Surgery: History, Efficacy, Cost, And Future Trends.

Robot-assisted spine surgery has recently emerged as a viable tool to enable less invasive and higher precision surgery. The first-ever spine robot, the SpineAssist (Mazor Robotics Ltd., Caesarea, Israel), gained FDA approval in 2004. With its ability to provide real-time intraoperative navigation and rigid stereotaxy, robotic-assisted surgery has the potential to increase accuracy while decreasing radiation exposure, complication rates, operative time, and recovery time. Currently, robotic assistance is mainly restricted to spinal fusion and instrumentation procedures, but recent studies have demonstrated its use in increasingly complex procedures such as spinal tumor resections and ablations, vertebroplasties, and deformity correction. However, robots do require high initial costs and training, and thus, require justification for their incorporation into common practice. In this review, we discuss the history of spinal robots along as well as currently available systems. We then examine the literature to evaluate accuracy, operative time, complications, radiation exposure, and costs - comparing robotic-assisted to traditional fluoroscopy-assisted freehand approaches. Finally, we consider future applications for robots in spine surgery.

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