J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2013; 74(04): 258-261
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1330121
Technical Note
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Minimally Invasive, Robot-Assisted, Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Technical Note

John Y. K. Lee
1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Deb A. Bhowmick
3   Center for Spine Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Daniel D. Eun
2   Department of Urology, Penn Urology at Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
William C. Welch
1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

08 August 2011

02 March 2012

Publication Date:
11 January 2013 (online)


Background Minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery have gained significant popularity due to decreased tissue dissection and destruction, postoperative pain, and hospital stay. The laparoscopic anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), an innovation in minimally invasive spine surgery, is rarely done because it has marginal benefit over the mini-open ALIF technique in rates of retrograde ejaculation and vascular complications. We propose these outcomes can be improved with enhanced robotic-assisted dissection and exposure for ALIF.

Patients Two patients with single-level degenerative spine disease at L5-S1, associated with mechanical back pain, underwent anterior spinal exposure using the da Vinci S Surgical Robot during ALIF.

Results In this report, we provide the first description of the use of a surgical robot in the dissection and exposure for ALIF in patients with degenerative spine disease. We demonstrate successful use of the da Vinci Surgical Robot in separating the presacral nervous plexus from retroperitoneal structures without postoperative vascular or urological complications over a 1-year follow-up period.

Conclusion Use of the robotic assistance in the performance of ALIF is possible without significant operative complications. This technique may provide added benefit over conventional laparoscopic approaches to the spine.

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