Robotics is a major area for research and development in spine surgery. The high accuracy of robot-assisted placement of thoracolumbar pedicle screws is documented in the literature. The authors present the largest case series to date evaluating 90-day complication, revision, and readmission rates for robot-assisted spine surgery using the current generation of robotic guidance systems.
An analysis of a retrospective, multicenter database of open and minimally invasive thoracolumbar instrumented fusion surgeries using the Mazor X or Mazor X Stealth Edition robotic guidance systems was performed. Patients 18 years of age or older and undergoing primary or revision surgery for degenerative spinal conditions were included. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate rates of malpositioned screws requiring revision, as well as overall complication, revision, and readmission rates within 90 days.
In total, 799 surgical cases (Mazor X: 48.81%; Mazor X Stealth Edition: 51.19%) were evaluated, involving robot-assisted placement of 4838 pedicle screws. The overall intraoperative complication rate was 3.13%. No intraoperative implant-related complications were encountered. Postoperatively, 129 patients suffered a total of 146 complications by 90 days, representing an incidence of 16.1%. The rate of an unrecognized malpositioned screw resulting in a new postoperative radiculopathy requiring revision surgery was 0.63% (5 cases). Medical and pain-related complications unrelated to hardware placement accounted for the bulk of postoperative complications within 90 days. The overall surgical revision rate at 90 days was 6.63% with 7 implant-related revisions, representing an implant-related revision rate of 0.88%. The 90-day readmission rate was 7.13% with 2 implant-related readmissions, representing an implant-related readmission rate of 0.25% of cases.
The results of this multicenter case series and literature review suggest current-generation robotic guidance systems are associated with low rates of intraoperative and postoperative implant-related complications, revisions, and readmissions at 90 days. Future outcomes-based studies are necessary to evaluate complication, revision, and readmission rates compared to conventional surgery.