Cutting-edge surgery tech at St. Mary’s

AMSTERDAM – St. Mary’s Healthcare can now boast it has the only cutting-edge system of its kind for minimally-invasive spine surgery in the state.

More importantly, the system helps provide safer and more efficient treatment for people with back problems.

The hospital showed of the new $800,000 state-of-the-art Renaissance robotic spine surgery guidance system it acquired from Mazor Robotics at a news conference Tuesday at the facility.

“Acquiring this equipment is part of our ongoing commitment to delivering the highest standard of care for patients in our community,” said St. Mary’s Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Vic Giulianelli. “Once we were convinced of the positive impact on our clinical outcomes, the decision was easy.”

Giulianelli said St. Mary’s sees spine surgery with robotics technology as a “natural expansion” of what has become the facility’s five star-rated orthopedic services.

“At St. Mary’s, we’re making tremendous strides,” he said.

Officials said the new system is the only one available in the state and throughout much of the Northeast, with the nearest unit of its kind in Pennsylvania. The equipment – the only robotics technology for minimally invasive spine surgery currently available – ensures 1.5 mm accuracy compared to freehand surgery, officials said. It is expected to bolster the number of such surgery procedures performed by Dr. Jian Shen – one of the nation’s leading orthopedic spine surgeons.

“It’s a safer work environment,” said Timothy Murawski, Mazor’s senior director of U.S. sales.

He showed off the equipment with Dr. Shen after a video presentation. Murawski showed how before entering the operating room, surgeons use Renaissance to actually pre-plan the most optimal surgery on a CT-based 3D simulation of the patient’s spine.

During surgery, the system guides the surgeon’s hands and tools to the precise, pre-planned locations along the spine.

Potential benefits for patients include reduced blood loss, fewer complications, fewer revisions, faster recovery, reduced procedure time and reduced exposure to radiation.

Dr. Shen said there were about 200 cases at St. Mary’s last year where the new Renaissance system could have been applicable.

“Next week, we have at least four or five,” the surgeon stated.

In a news release, Dr. Shen said St. Mary’s has found robotics equipment to be the safest, most accurate minimally-invasive technology available.

Giulianelli noted the National Institute of Health indicated the leading cause of disability for people 19 to 45 is back pain.

“With the addition of cutting-edge robotics, those in need of minimally invasive spine surgery now have the very best care and equipment available to them,” said Dr. Ronald Marsh, St. Mary’s chairman of the board.