A groundbreaking surgery recently took place at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where augmented reality (AR) robotic technology was used in a minimally invasive procedure to repair a complex spine fracture. This innovative approach was a world-first, as it combined AR technology with robotic assistance, setting a new milestone in the field of spine surgery.

The surgery was prompted by the case of a 25-year-old patient who had suffered a severe fracture in the lower thoracic region of the spine after a fall from a height. Dr. Cezar Mizrahi, a surgeon from the spine surgery unit and the department of neurosurgery, advocated for the use of AR to optimize instrumentation positioning and enhance the chances of the patient’s recovery.

Dr. Mizrahi is known for his preference for robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery, emphasizing that he rarely resorts to traditional open surgery. However, this time, he decided to incorporate AR technology into the procedure after experiencing the system at a conference in Madrid. Medtronic, a multinational healthcare technology company, provided the AR system, which was still in pilot use.

The AR system, integrated with a robotic arm, enabled three-dimensional recognition of the patient based on previous scans, ensuring precise instrument placement. It minimized the risk of damage to the spinal cord or nerve roots by allowing the surgeon to visualize the robot’s navigation system in real-time. An AR headset worn by the surgeon displayed all necessary scans and pre-surgery planning.

During the surgery, which took several hours, the patient’s spine was successfully stabilized. Remarkably, the patient was able to stand and walk independently the next day, even making coffee on his own. After five days, he was discharged from the hospital, recovering faster than expected.

This world-first surgery demonstrates the potential of AR technology in combination with robotics to revolutionize minimally invasive spine surgeries, offering enhanced precision and patient outcomes.

Article written by  RENEE GHERT-ZAND 



The Times of Israel