Many patients scheduled for a major spinal operation naturally worry that they might find themselves in a wheelchair due to a surgical error, or simple bad luck. While this happens only rarely, it is a possibility. The results of orthopedic surgery are as good as the specialist who performs it – but today, the risk is much reduced. Not only is there computer-assisted navigation for hip replacement, for example (introduced in the past decade), but now there is a robot that guides orthopedic surgeons in performing operations customized for each patient’s anatomy. The world’s first such robotic system, called SpineAssist, is Israeli – based on the work of a scientist at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and marketed around the world by Mazor Robotics (www.mazorro botics.com) of Caesarea.
Ori Hadomi, the publicly traded company’s CEO, visited Israel recently. SpineAssist is the first surgical-guidance robot for orthopedic surgery to receive full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and the European CE. Hadomi has headed the company since 2003, and moved to New York last summer for three years to promote SpineAssist’s marketing.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post to discuss the progress of the system, the master’s graduate in industrial chemistry and business administration at the Hebrew University and the University of California said the $750,000 system is taking off not only there but also in Europe, Russia and Asia.
The system has been known longer – three years – to Israeli orthopedic surgeons than to those abroad, as some 400 procedures have already been performed with much success at the Hadassah University Medical Centers in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem and on Mount Scopus and Haifa’s Carmel Medical Center. Other Israelis will follow, said Hadomi, who predicted that using SpineAssist for spinal and other orthopedic operations will be regarded as the standard, while the company upgrades the system for even better performance.