Robotics and the spine: A review of current and ongoing applications

Faris Shweikeh, Jordan P. Amadio, Monica Arnell, Zachary R. Barnard, Terrence T. Kim, J. Patrick Johnson, Doniel Drazin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Object: Robotics in the operating room has shown great use and versatility in multiple surgical fields. Robotassisted spine surgery has gained significant favor over its relatively short existence, due to its intuitive promise of higher surgical accuracy and better outcomes with fewer complications. Here, the authors analyze the existing literature on this growing technology in the era of minimally invasive spine surgery. Methods: In an attempt to provide the most recent, up-to-date review of the current literature on robotic spine surgery, a search of the existing literature was conducted to obtain all relevant studies on robotics as it relates to its application in spine surgery and other interventions. Results: In all, 45 articles were included in the analysis. The authors discuss the current status of this technology and its potential in multiple arenas of spinal interventions, mainly spine surgery and spine biomechanics testing. Conclusions: There are numerous potential advantages and limitations to robotic spine surgery, as suggested in published case reports and in retrospective and prospective studies. Randomized controlled trials are few in number and show conflicting results regarding accuracy. The present limitations may be surmountable with future technological improvements, greater surgeon experience, reduced cost, improved operating room dynamics, and more training of surgical team members. Given the promise of robotics for improvements in spine surgery and spine biomechanics testing, more studies are needed to further explore the applicability of this technology in the spinal operating room. Due to the significant cost of the robotic equipment, studies are needed to substantiate that the increased equipment costs will result in significant benefits that will justify the expense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Biomechanics
  • Robot
  • Robotics
  • Spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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