State-of-the-art robot helps patients heal quickly

State-of-the-art robot helps patients heal quickly

Terry Madia was in so much back pain she literally could not walk. The 54-year-old Lombard resident had no feeling in her left leg, and the only comfortable position was to lay on the floor. After several physician visits, pain medications and a cortisone shot, the pain was still there.

Thankfully, her physician referred her to the Advocate Medical Group Spine Care Center, a unique center at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill.  designed to quickly guide patients to the best level of care for back or spine conditions.

After an assessment and MRI, Terry was seen by Dr. Dean Karahalios, a neurosurgeon, who discussed her options with her. She was suffering from a misalignment in her spine that was causing spinal stenosis, or a narrowing that was compressing her nerve roots. It caused her to experience sciatica, with pain and numbness in her leg. She had exhausted all conservative treatments, and surgery was her best option. On February 3, Dr. Karahalios performed a minimally-invasive robotic-assisted decompression and fusion surgery utilizing the state-of-the-art Mazor X robot.

Minimally-invasive procedures typically mean less pain, less blood loss, smaller incisions, shorter hospitalizations and shorter recovery time for patients. Smaller incisions usually pose a challenge to surgeons due to the limited view of the anatomy. “However, the Mazor X system helps us to overcome this challenge with a 3D comprehensive surgical plan and analytics that give us valuable information before the surgery even starts,” Dr. Karahalios explains.

“For Terry, the robot allowed us to perform a minimally invasive fusion procedure without disrupting the soft tissues and muscles like you would with a conventional open procedure,” Dr. Karahalios adds. “Because Terry is young and active, this was particularly important to her. She was up the day after surgery and ready to go home.”

“The robot gives us the confidence that we can target and place instrumentation with a high degree of accuracy, avoiding injury to critical structures like nerves and major blood vessels,” he explains. “Like GPS in your car, the robot gets you from point A to B quickly and safely, but you still have to drive the car. Ultimately, it promises to take navigation to the next level. To continue the driving analogy, ‘it will be like riding in an autonomous self-driving car.’”

The AMG Spine Center is only the second site in the world to use the Mazor X robot after its commercial launch. Because of their extensive experience, the center was chosen as one of 10 nationally, and the only one in Illinois, to evaluate the technology and to assist in its further development.

For Terry, the innovative technology and expertise helped her heal quickly and return to her active lifestyle with her four adult children and two jobs.

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About the Author

Lisa O'Neil
Lisa O'Neil

Lisa O’Neil, health enews contributor, serves as Director of Public Affairs-Central Region for Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital. She enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and mini-golden doodle. In her spare time, you will most likely find her on the tennis court or on the back of her husband’s Harley, cruising the many scenic routes around the northwest suburbs.

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