Robots To Perform Spinal Surgery In New Ground-breaking Research

Robots will perform spinal surgery with pinpoint accuracy, greater than anything humanly possible as part of incredible research led by Nottingham Trent University.


This system, created by a team led by Professor Philip Breedon, of the Medical Design Research Group, allows two robotic arms (known as the datum and tooling robots) to semi-autonomously drill holes in individual vertebrae, which are used to insert pedicle screws and attach to deformity rod reducers, to realign the spine. 

It’s a crucial part of any spinal operation for patients, which allows surgeons to straighten spines and help with conditions such as scoliosis or kyphosis.

With this technology, levels of accuracy beyond human ability are now possible, as the robotic arms move in unison and naturally with the patient’s spine during the operation whilst drilling.

Pair this with augmented reality, providing live visual feedback to surgeons and illustrating the depth of each hole as it’s drilled, you have an incredible machine that could very well play a huge part in the future of healthcare. Need proof? Drilling accuracy has been recorded at an insane 0.1 of a millimetre.

“Surgeons performing life-changing operations to correct spinal conditions such as scoliosis or kyphosis have to ensure pinpoint levels of accuracy are achieved to avoid causing unnecessary and potentially serious injuries,” said Professor Breedon.

“This technology promises to deliver greater levels of accuracy than ever previously achieved – or even humanly possible – to improve the safety and efficiency of such procedures which are needed by people with serious spinal conditions.”

All too easily, everybody looks on robotics as a precursor to Skynet - taking jobs and eventually taking over. But this is a brilliant example of how they can enhance and improve our healthcare. The future is certainly bright.