Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

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Robotics in Spinal Surgery

Robotics is an emerging technological field that has seen significant advancements over a short period.

Fortune magazine mentions that the global robotics market is expected to cross $135 billion in 2019.

Robotics doesn’t only refer to the massive industrial beasts that dominate manufacturing and commercial production plants.

It also refers to the subtler robotics systems, such as the one pioneered by BrainLab called Loop-X.

Designed as a technology that combines synchronization of existing infrastructure with automation and imaging, it could be a potentially industry-changing development over the long term.

Business Wire mentions that in March of this year, BrainLab acquired the European medical technology startup Medineering.

The company noted that they aimed to democratize digital surgery by implementing scalable solutions that pushed the boundaries of clinical procedures.

The development of Loop-X manages to do just that, by offering a mobile surgery solution for spinal surgeries.

BrainLab’s dedication to providing quality services to clients aligns with the industry’s move towards less invasive technologies.

Surgeons can utilize the system to perform scans that won’t impact the patient at all.

Additionally, the imaging technology creates spatial data to better improve the location of the automated systems and lower the time it takes per procedure.

Loop-X In a Nutshell

Announced in NASS 2019, Loop-X is a revolutionary system that enhances the flexibility of spinal surgery procedures.

It automates imaging workflows to ensure that robotic tools synchronize with other elements such as robotic arms and the surgeon and staff on duty.

Loop-X also demonstrates a relatively low-profile design so that it can fit into existing surgical layouts. The ability to connect to a wireless tablet removes the need for a bulky monitor cart, making the system more agile.

The system is also able to provide surgeons with ultra-high resolution 2D and 3D images of a location while reducing the radiation exposure of the patient.

The open interface means that the system can be used alongside other BrainLab equipment (like Cirq Robotics) or interfaced with third-party devices.

Additionally, the system can capture and update pre-and post-op images, showing changes to the anatomy of the patient.

An Improvement in Accuracy

Spinal surgeries need to be extremely accurate due to the nature of the tissue in that region. As Science Daily reports, robotically assisted surgery is typically more precise than manual operation.

In the case of spinal surgery, there is an increased need for accuracy since the slightest change could cause problems for the patient.

Loop-X provides a method to automate the movement of the robotic arms so that there is no room for error.

Additionally, because of its ability to synchronize the different parts of the operational machinery, surgeons can approach spinal surgery with even more confidence than before.

The pinpoint-accurate automation of procedures makes life easier for surgeons by predicting where the robotic arms are supposed to go next.

The use of robotic positioning will also speed up processes without sacrificing the safety of the procedure.

The Future of Robotic Surgery

Loop-X is an innovation that is likely to spawn other advancements in the field. The data that the device collects through its imaging may be useful in providing insight into how problems with the spine occur and how individuals can avoid ending up with those types of injuries.

The Journal of Spine Surgery suggests that minimally invasive spinal surgery is the end-goal of robotic surgery within the profession.

Even so, there are advances to improve robotic surgery to go beyond the traditional role of being assistants to surgeons.

Innovation Toronto mentioned that UCLA researchers have started working on a system to provide haptic sensory information from robotic arms to aid surgeons.

While robotic surgery is still in its infancy, innovations such as these give a lot of promise for the future of the integration of this type of change into the industry.

Future advancements in the technology may include follower robots that utilize a similar system as the Loop-X tracking technology.

A Disruptive Innovation of Note

BrainLab has created an innovation that may find its way into operating tables around the world.

The invention sets the stage for surgeons to utilize cutting-edge location tracking technology alongside the tools they already use to refine their techniques.

The imaging portion of the technology enables the collection of valuable research data that may forecast insights into both causes and procedures for repair to spinal tissue.

In this regard, BrainLab seems to have fulfilled its goal to democratize surgery and make it more accessible and safer to the public.