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Neurosurgeons Perform First Robot-Assisted Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery in Missouri

  • August 27, 2019
  • Number of views: 15871

Neurosurgeons at Barnes-Jewish Hospital recently performed the first robot-assisted minimally-invasive spine surgery in Missouri utilizing the ExcelsiusGPS™, a robotic guidance and navigational system.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Ammar Hawasli and Dr. Wilson Ray, neurosurgeons at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Utilizing the robotic navigation, the pair placed spinal screws to stabilize the patient’s spine.

This platform technology is designed to improve safety and accuracy within the operating room. It provides improved visualization of patient anatomy through the procedure to help optimize patient treatment. This revolutionary robotic navigation platform is the world’s first technology to combine a rigid robotic arm and full navigation capabilities into one adaptable platform for accurate trajectory alignment in spine surgery.


According to Ray, the ExcelsiusGPS™ allows for sophisticated pre-operative planning. Body images are uploaded into the machine, creating a patient-specific ‘map’ of the spine. The surgeon then utilizes this ‘map’ to precisely identify the location of the screws based on the patient’s exact anatomy, and maneuvers the robotic arm to place the screws with high accuracy. Another benefit of using this technology is reduced radiation to both the patient and operative staff, allowing for more accurate and safer screw placement.

Integration of robotics is part of the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program, developed and led by Dr. Ammar Hawasli.

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,638-bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. The hospital has a 1,698-member medical staff, and has been consistently among the nation’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 15 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois.

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