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6 Exciting Advances in Spine Surgery

By April 22, 2022March 10th, 2023No Comments

Mazor X Stealth Computer


At Spine Medicine & Surgery of Long Island, we’re self-proclaimed spine nerds. We’re always looking ahead at the latest developments in the world of spinal surgery to keep our practice at the cutting edge of our field. That’s partly because there’s always something innovative happening in the industry, but mostly so we can continue to give our patients the safest, most effective and most precise spine surgery options.


Many of our patients worry about developing permanent restrictions after spinal fusion or other types of spine surgery. It’s natural to have concerns about spinal surgery outcomes. But as spine surgery experts in Nassau and Suffolk County, we’re here to tell you that you absolutely can have spine surgery without long-term risks or lengthy recovery times. We’re proud to offer many groundbreaking techniques at our Long Island spine surgery centers to improve our patients’ quality of life. In this post, we’ll tell you about all the exciting advances in spine surgery today, including:


  • The latest spinal surgery techniques, tools and technology
  • The types of conditions we can treat with spine surgery
  • The benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery on total patient health



Robotic Spine Surgery


What It Is


Robots can do anything these days, including perform complex spinal surgeries. And our Harvard-trained spine surgeon, Dr. Daniel Choi, is one of a select group of specialists qualified to perform robotic spine surgery on Long Island. He uses the Medtronic Mazor X Stealth™ Edition Robotic Guidance Platform (yes, it’s as high-tech as it sounds). With Mazor X technology, Dr. Choi can create a customized, 3D blueprint for your procedure and use robotics to execute it exactly as planned. The system offers a safer, more precise alternative to traditional open back surgery.


How It Works


First, Dr. Choi will plan out your surgical blueprint. Then, during the procedure, an automated robotic arm will play assistant by holding the surgical instruments in place so Dr. Choi can place implants and screws with maximum precision. The arm is connected to a state-of-the-art navigation system that provides real-time imaging feedback, allowing Dr. Choi to visualize your anatomy and make adjustments as needed to carry out the surgery exactly as planned.


Benefits of Robotic Spine Surgery


  • Improved precision
  • Enhanced safety
  • Better outcomes
  • Less downtime



Stealth CT-Guided Navigation


What It Is


Mazor X strikes again with Mazor X Stealth™ CT-Guided Navigation. Dr. Choi uses this sophisticated technology, which includes 3D planning tools and an intraoperative guidance system, to perform minimally invasive procedures with maximum precision. While traditional spine surgery relies on x-rays of your spine, Stealth CT-guided navigation uses super-precise CT scans and 3D software to map out every step of your surgery prior to the procedure.


How It Works


Two-dimensional x-rays only show so much, and since the spine’s anatomy is complex, there is a significant margin for error. With CT-guided navigation, the intraoperative scans and technology function as a GPS system to visualize your spinal anatomy in real-time. Dr. Choi’s surgical instruments contain LEDs that transmit their location to a computer and a robotic arm holds key instruments in place. This allows Dr. Choi to place hardware exactly where it needs to go and ensure it’s positioned accurately before he completes the surgery.


Benefits of Stealth CT-Guided Navigation


  • Improves accuracy
  • Enhances safety
  • Shorter procedures
  • Easier recovery



Spinal Cord Stimulation


What It Is


Damaged nerves play a significant role in spinal conditions and can cause neck, back, leg or arm pain to become chronic. Fortunately, Dr. Choi has access to groundbreaking pain management technology, such as the Abbott spinal cord stimulator. The electrical device interrupts the pain cycle and stops pain signals from being sent to the brain. Spinal cord stimulation is a proven method for managing certain types of chronic pain that haven’t responded to other treatments, including spine surgeries.


How It Works


You’ll start with a trial period to make sure the stimulator is effective for you. If so, Dr. Choi will implant your permanent spinal cord stimulator. After you receive local anesthesia and sedation, Dr. Choi will make a small incision in the middle of your back, then insert and secure electrode leads in the epidural space. The stimulator battery will then be placed below your skin on your abdomen, along your belt line. Finally, the lead wires will be connected to the battery.


Today’s spinal cord stimulators offer personalized programming. Depending on the specific spinal cord stimulator used, the stimulator may adjust automatically based on your preferred settings, or you’ll be able to adjust the stimulation and even target different areas of the body using a handheld remote, your cell phone or tablet.


Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation


  • Alleviates chronic neck, back, arm and leg pain
  • Reduces need for medications
  • Improves ability to function day-to-day


With ultrasonic spinal surgery, Dr. Choi uses BoneScalpel to make exceptionally precise surgical cuts.

With ultrasonic spinal surgery, Dr. Choi uses BoneScalpel to make exceptionally precise surgical cuts.


Ultrasonic Spinal Surgery


What It Is


Many surgeons rely on pneumatic drills and other traditional hand tools to remove and reshape bone when performing certain types of spinal surgery. While these tools are effective, they can be difficult to control, causing “collateral damage” to surrounding tissues, healthy bone and spinal structures. To minimize these risks, Dr. Choi offers ultrasonic spinal surgery in Long Island. He uses BoneScalpel® from Misonix® — a cutting-edge, ultrasonic bone-cutting instrument — to perform complex surgeries with incredible control, accuracy and precision.


How It Works


Many types of spine surgery — including laminectomy procedures, scoliosis surgery, osteotomies and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedures (say that three times fast!) — require the surgeon to cut through bone. With ultrasonic spinal surgery, instead of using conventional tools like a pneumatic drill and/or an osteotome, Dr. Choi uses BoneScalpel to make exceptionally precise surgical cuts.


The ultrasonic tool is matched to ultrasound waves at the correct frequency to cut into dense tissue, such as bone. Since soft tissue structures have a different density and don’t absorb the energy from the instrument, they move away from the blade and are not damaged. Thanks to these tissue-sparing effects, Dr. Choi can safely make cuts in areas where he couldn’t with traditional tools.


Benefits of Ultrasonic Spinal Surgery


  • Increases accuracy
  • Reduces risk to surround tissues, bones and structures
  • Enhances safety
  • Improves outcomes



Laser Spine Surgery


What It Is


As a top minimally invasive spinal surgeon in Long Island, Dr. Choi is thrilled to offer laser spine surgery. This revolutionary alternative to open back surgery uses laser technology to perform endoscopic spinal treatments, instead of traditional surgical tools. Laser spine surgery is highly effective: patients report experiencing a dramatic reduction in pain, while benefiting from a shorter recovery time and less postoperative discomfort.


How It Works


Traditional open spine surgery requires making a large incision. The surgeon then dissects the muscles and moves them away from the vertebrae so they can see the spinal pathology. This can cause trauma to the muscle and surrounding tissues, and often involves more significant postoperative pain and blood loss. As a result, patients are on a long road to recovery.


Endoscopic laser spine surgery is a minimally invasive alternative to open spine surgery. Dr. Choi makes a small incision, through which he inserts a cannula about the size of a pen. He then uses surgical tools and fluoroscopic guidance to access the affected area of the spine. He then uses a medical laser to repair and/or remove damaged disc tissue. It can also remove soft tissue, bone and any other structures that are compressing your nerves. This approach results in minimal or no damage to the surrounding anatomy and leaves virtually no scar.


Benefits of Laser Spine Surgery


  • Minimizes trauma and scarring
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Increases precision
  • Highly effective


Dr. Daniel Choi uses CT-guided navigation.

Dr. Daniel Choi uses CT-guided navigation.

Computer-Assisted Spine Surgery


What It Is


Being the tech-savvy practice we are, if there’s a technology that can make surgery safer, less invasive and more effective, our team is on it. One of our favorite advances that helps us do just that is computer-guided navigation. Using computer-assisted navigation, Dr. Choi can perform minimally invasive procedures with unparalleled precision. This means patients get an easier, safer alternative to traditional open back surgery.


How It Works


With computer-guided navigation, Dr. Choi plans your procedure and performs your surgery in real-time using detailed images of your spine as his guide. The process begins with an intraoperative CT scan to map out your anatomy. Dr. Choi then uses those images in conjunction with his computer and cutting-edge software to create 3D images of your spine. These computerized, 3D renderings allow him to plan out every single aspect of your surgery, including the exact placement of screws, bone grafts or other implants.


Just like with Stealth CT-guided navigation, Dr. Choi will use surgical instruments that contain LEDs. These instruments send signals to an optical camera that’s set up in the operating room, giving Dr. Choi a clear view of your surgery as he’s performing it for maximum accuracy and optimal safety.


Benefits of Computer-Assisted Spine Surgery


  • Improves accuracy
  • Increases safety
  • Better outcomes
  • Shorter recovery time


At our practice, we specialize in state-of-the-art, minimally invasive techniques to help our patients achieve optimal spine health, mobility and reduced pain. Want to learn more about the treatments we offer or how spine surgery can help you live with less pain? Contact our Nassau or Suffolk County spine care centers today to book a consultation.

Dr. Daniel Choi

Author Dr. Daniel Choi

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