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How robotic spine surgery works

With conventional open spine surgery, the surgeon determines the ideal placement for screws, bone grafts and implants after obtaining x-ray images of the area prior to the procedure. During the actual operation, they will draw on their experience, judgment and information from the x-ray images to place the materials. However, x-rays can only offer a limited picture, so there’s always a degree of risk involved.

In addition, misplacement can lead to serious consequences for the patient such as persistent pain, restricted mobility and, in very rare cases, paralysis. Robotic spine surgery dramatically reduces some of these risks. It’s performed with the aid of a mechanical guidance system, which increases the safety and precision of among the most complex spinal procedures.

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The Technology

When undergoing robotic spine surgery with New Jersey spine surgeon Dr. Rovner, the procedure will be performed with the assistance of the Mazor Robotics System. Prior to the surgery, Dr. Rovner will order a computed tomography (CT) scan and load the images into the 3D planning system to create a surgical blueprint. This allows him to thoroughly plan for your procedure before he even enters the operating room. During your actual surgery, the robotic guidance system will assist in directing the instruments used throughout the operation to ensure adherence to the surgical blueprint.


Though robotic spinal surgery is relatively new, it’s already been shown to be a safe and less invasive alternative to traditional approaches.

It improves the rate of proper screw placement by 98 percent, minimizes screw misplacement occurrences by ten percent and reduces the risk of nerve damage by two percent.

Additional Benefits of This Surgical Approach Include:

  • Improved precision throughout the surgery
  • Reduced exposure to radiation (from x-rays)
  • Less risk of post-operative complications
  • Minimized risk of permanent nerve damage
  • Faster recovery time and less physical trauma
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Robotic Spine Procedures

There are a number of procedures that can be performed with robotic guidance. Some of the most common ones New Jersey spine surgeon Dr. Rovner performs for his clients include:

Spinal Fusion

This procedure involves fusing two or more vertebrae together with grafts to create a single, solid bone. It’s performed to resolve broken vertebrae, chronic lower back pain and spinal deformities, weakness and instability. Traditional open and minimally-invasive approaches to spinal fusion procedures have serious limitations that can lessen their efficacy and safety. For example, the open technique requires a lengthy incision that provides an unobstructed view of the spine, which aids in the insertion of bone grafts and implants. However, it may also damage the surrounding structures and result in increased post-operative pain.

Minimally-invasive surgery uses smaller incisions that reduce pain and recovery time, but there’s a lack of visibility throughout the procedure that the surgeon has to compensate for by ordering additional x-rays.

The Mazor Robotics System overcomes these limitations to ensure a safer and more precise procedure. It combines the benefits of open and minimally-invasive techniques by guiding the surgeon’s tools and implants, resulting in fewer complications, increased precision and a faster, more comfortable recovery period.


Vertebroplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that’s performed to treat spinal compression fractures. The goal of the operation is to stabilize the fracture, relieve pain and prevent further weakening. The surgery involves using a thin needle to inject synthetic bone cement into the fractured vertebra. Once the bone cement hardens (after approximately ten minutes) the fractured structure should be stabilized.

It’s a very effective procedure, but it’s challenging for even the most experienced surgeons to place the needle correctly. Unfortunately, misplacement can result in serious consequences, including spillage, which places pressure on the surrounding nerves. Also, due to a lack of visibility throughout this procedure, surgeons need to rely on x-rays to guide them, which means increased radiation exposure for the patient.

With the Mazor Robotics System, NJ spine surgeon Dr. Rovner, can bypass many of these risks. He can plan for the procedure well in advance and pinpoint the precise location for the bone cement, allowing him to take fewer x-rays and improve precision, safety and patient outcomes.

Adult Reconstructive Surgery

Certain conditions, such as adult scoliosis and kyphosis, may require reconstructive surgery if they haven’t responded to conservative measures. In these cases, procedures are performed to straighten and fuse the spine together through the use of implants, such as screws and rods, bone grafts and spacers. However, these surgeries are very complex and require a high level of precision to prevent complications and ensure an optimal outcome.

The Mazor Robotics System allows Dr. Rovner to create a surgical blueprint for the procedure, taking into account the full picture of the patient’s condition and adjusting the approach for any extenuating circumstances that may complicate matters, such as osteoporosis. The technology then guides him throughout the procedure to ensure that he places the implants in a way that safely and effectively resolves the patient’s condition.


Patients who suffer from debilitating back pain, limited range of motion and degenerative conditions often require spinal surgery to permanently resolve their symptoms. In many of these cases, a robotic approach can be used to improve the safety and efficacy of these procedures.

For example, as one of the top providers of robotic spine surgery New Jersey has to offer, Dr. Rovner commonly performs robotic spine surgery to treat:

Although robotic surgical techniques are ideal in many instances, they aren’t appropriate for all patients. During your initial consultation at Dr. Rovner’s New Jersey office, he will discuss all of your surgical options with you and help you determine which approach is in your best interest.

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Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you require surgery to treat debilitating back pain and chronic spinal conditions, we invite you to schedule a consultation at Dr. Rovner’s New Jersey office today. During your appointment, he will assess your symptoms and help you decide whether or not a robotic surgical approach can be used to correct your condition.

Learn More About Dr. Rovner

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If you are suffering from back or neck pain, it is crucial for you to receive a professional diagnosis as soon as possible. Dr. Rovner is one of the best spine surgeons in NJ who has the experience and expertise necessary to help patients actualize successful outcomes with orthopedic spine surgery.

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