Pedicle screw (PS) malpositioning rates are high in spine surgery. This has resulted in the use of computed navigational aids to reduce the rate of malposition; but these are often expensive and limited in availability. A simple mechanical device to aid PS insertion might overcome some of these disadvantages. The purpose of this study was to determine the demand and design criteria for a simple device to aid PS placement, as well as to collect opinions and experiences on PS surgery in the UK and Ireland. A postal questionnaire was sent to 422 spinal surgeons in the UK and Ireland. 101 questionnaires were received; 67 of these (16% of total sent) contained useful information. 78% of surgeons experienced problems with PS placement. The need for a simple mechanical device to aid PS placement was expressed by 59% of respondent surgeons. The proportion of respondents that inserted PSs in the cervical spine was 14%; PSs are mainly inserted in the thoracic, lumbar and sacral spine, but potential exists for a PS placement aid for the cervical and thoracic spine. From the experiences of these 67 surgeons, there is evidence to suggest that surgeons would prefer a pedicle aid that is multiple use, one-piece, hand-held, radiolucent, unilateral and uses the line of sight principle in traditional open surgery. Based on the experiences of 67 surgeons, there is evidence to suggest that computed navigational aids are not readily used in PS surgery and that a simple mechanical device could be a better option. This paper provides useful data for improving the outcomes of spinal surgery.
Navigation in surgery; Osteoporosis; Pedicle screw placement; Questionnaire.
To describe different currently available tests of multimodal intraoperative monitoring (MIOM) used in spine and spinal cord surgery indicating the technical parameters, application and interpretation as an easy understanding systematic overview to help implementation of MIOM and improve communication between neurophysiologists and spine surgeons. This article aims to give an overview and proposal of the different MIOM-techniques as used daily in spine and spinal cord surgery at our institution. Intensive research in neurophysiology over the past decades has lead to a profound understanding of the spinal cord, nerve functions and their intraoperative functional evaluation in anaesthetised patients. At present, spine surgeons and neurophysiologist are faced with 1,883 publications in PubMed on spinal cord monitoring. The value and the limitations of single monitoring methods are well documented. The diagnostic power of the multimodal approach in a larger study population in spine surgery, as measured with sensitivity and specificity, is dealt with elsewhere in this supplement (Sutter et al. in Eur Spine J Suppl, 2007). This paper aims to give a detailed description of the different modalities used in this study. Description of monitoring techniques of the descending and ascending spinal cord and nerve root pathways by motor evoked potentials of the spinal cord and muscles elicited after transcranial electrical motor cortex, spinal cord, cauda equina and nerve root stimulation, continuous EMG, sensory cortical and spinal evoked potentials, as well as direct spinal cord evoked potentials applied on 1,017 patients. The method of MIOM, continuously adapted according to the site, stage of surgery and potential danger to nerve tissues, proved to be applicable with online results, reliable and furthermore teachable.
Spine surgery; Intraoperative monitoring; Method
Till recent past the realm of ENT surgeons was limited to tonsils and mastoids. But with the passage of time and strides made by the Biomedical Engineering, the horizon has widened and the Otolaryngology has kept pace with other medical specialities. Lesions of Clivus, cervicomedullary junction and cervical vertebra often present difficulty to the Neuro Surgeon and Orthopaedic Surgeon. The role of ENT surgeon in these cases of cervical spine surgery can be significant. A successful attempt has been made to approach various levels of cervical spine anteriorly either transorally, transpharyngeally or transcervically.
Although these techniques are well suited to the training and experience of the Head & Neck ± surgeon, it is our perception that the procedure is underused by the members of our speciality. Although these approaches are safe and reliable, it is not part of the Otolaryngologist’s usual surgical armamentarium.
In the present study a series of thirteen patients presented between February ’91 and July ’94, with various pathologies of Cervical Spine with or without neurological deficits is reviewed. The surgical technique is discussed and methods to prevent potential complications and adverse sequelae are also addressed.
Tubular retractor system as a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) technique has many advantages over other conventional MIS techniques. It offers direct visualization of the operative field, anatomical familiarity to spine surgeons, and minimizing tissue trauma. With technical advancement, many spinal pathologies are being treated using this system. Namely, herniated discs, lumbar and cervical stenosis, synovial cysts, lumbar instability, trauma, and even some intraspinal tumors have all been treated through tubular retractor system. Flexible arm and easy change of the tube direction are particularly useful in contralateral spinal decompression from an ipsilateral approach. Careful attention to surgical technique through narrow space will ensure that complications are minimized and will provide improved outcomes. However, understanding detailed anatomies and keeping precise surgical orientation are essential for this technique. Authors present the technical feasibility and initial results of use a tubular retractor system as a minimally invasive technique for variaties of spinal disorders with a review of literature.
Tubular retractor; Minimally invasive surgery; Spinal disorders; Microendoscopic discectomy
Unstable spine fractures commonly occur in the setting of a polytraumatized patient. The aim of management is to balance the need for early operative stabilization and prevent additional trauma due to the surgery. Recent published literature has demonstrated the benefits of early stabilization of an unstable spine fracture particularly in patients with higher injury severity score (ISS). We report two cases of polytrauma with unstable spine fractures stabilized with a minimally invasive percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation system as a form of damage control surgery. The patients had good recovery from the polytrauma injuries. These two cases illustrate the role of minimally invasive stabilization, its limitations and technical pitfalls in the management of unstable spine fractures in the polytrauma setting as a form of damage control surgery.
Minimally invasive stabilization; percutaneous pedicle screw; polytrauma; unstable spine fracture
Minimally invasive spine surgery requires placement of the skin incision at an ideal location in the patient's back by the surgeon. However, numerous fluoroscopic x-ray images are sometimes required to find the site of entry, thereby exposing patients and Operating Room personnel to additional radiation. To minimize this exposure, a radiopaque localizer grid was devised to increase planning efficiency and reduce radiation exposure.
The radiopaque localizer grid was utilized to plan the point of entry for minimally invasive spine surgery. Use of the grid allowed the surgeon to accurately pinpoint the ideal entry point for the procedure with just one or two fluoroscopic X-ray images.
The reusable localizer grid is a simple and practical device that may be utilized to more efficiently plan an entry site on the skin, thus reducing radiation exposure. This device or a modified version may be utilized for any procedure involving the spine.
Radiation; Exposure; Minimally Invasive; Spine Surgery; Localization; Innovation; Grid
The revival of off-pump cardiac surgery and the exploration of less invasive techniques for coronary artery bypass grafting, have lead to an increasing technical difficulty, as compared to conventional surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass. The moving target vessel in off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, as well as the increasingly limited space in minimally invasive cardiac surgery were not convenient to many surgeons, a fact that lead many surgeons to deprive their patients the potential benefits of these techniques.
Since the 1950’s, surgeons have attempted to make the anastomotic procedure less cumbersome and less time consuming. Many creative ideas and devices were made, but for many different reasons, they eventually faded away. Since then, hand-sewn anastomoses have been the standard of care in coronary artery bypass grafting. Today, with the obvious need for a facilitated and fast coronary anastomosis, interest in these anastomotic devices has been re-awakened. The exact geometry, physiology and dynamics of the perfect anastomosis have thus been studied, in an attempt to provide an understanding of reasons behind anastomosis and graft failure after coronary artery bypass surgery, and eventually design the best performing device. These devices would allow for a faster, more accurate and a more reproducible coronary anastomosis using minimally invasive techniques. Also, due to a short learning curve, the standardization of percutaneous devices would allow much more surgeons to more widely adopt less invasive techniques. In summary, we see anastomotic devices as a solution to the technical challenges surgeons encounter with minimally invasive coronary artery bypass grafting.
anastomotic devices; minimally invasive; cardiac surgery; coronary bypass; hybrid procedures
The anterior aspect of the upper thoracic spine is a difficult region to approach in spinal surgery. Many vital structures including osseus, articular, vascular and nervous ones hinder the exposure. With increasing frequency, spine surgeons are being asked to provide decompression and stabilization in patients with spinal tumors .The traditional exposure is between the esophagus and trachea medially and the left common carotid or the brachiocephalic artery (BCA) laterally, and the disadvantages were that the ligation and section of the left innominate vein is proposed to reach T4 and the injury of the thoracic duct could occur. The right space of the BCA or the ascending aorta (AA) (the exposure between the right brachiocephalic vein and the BCA or between the AA and superior caval vein) is recommended in exposing the upper thoracic vertebrae; this new space is technically feasible; the exposure is sufficient for vertebral body resection and reconstruction and fixation. Twenty-eight patients with upper thoracic spine tumors underwent surgery by the use of this new space between June 2000 and October 2005. A strut graft was fixed anteriorly after decompression of the spinal cord. Levels C7–T5 can be well exposed through this new space, allowing complete vertebral body removal at level T1–T4. After body removal, the posterior longitudinal ligament is well exposed, allowing complete release of the spinal cord. Curettage was performed in one case of aneurysmal bone cyst and three cases of bone giant cell tumors. For other tumors, vertebrectomies or sagittal resections were performed. Four patients underwent surgery by a combination of anterior and posterior approach.
Upper thoracic spine; Bone tumor; Transmanubrium approach; New space
Intraoperative spinal cord and nerve root monitoring is used to identify an insult to the neural elements with the goal of preventing injury. There are 2 major categories of monitoring: evoked potentials (somatosensory evoked potentials and motor evoked potentials) and electromyography. The availability of intraoperative neuromonitoring and the indications for use vary widely. In this study, we aimed to document the current practices and opinions of Canadian spine surgeons with regards to intraoperative spinal monitoring.
We surveyed members of the Canadian Spine Society about the availability and use of various types of intraoperative neuromonitoring modalities for surgical procedures.
We distributed 105 surveys and received 95 responses (90%). Somatosensory evoked potentials were the most commonly available form of intraoperative neuromonitoring, although it was available to only 65.3% of respondents. Surgeons in either full-time or part-time academic practice used monitoring more frequently than those in private practice (p < 0.001), but this association was not based on surgeon preference after controlling for availability. Years of practice and training background (orthopedic or neurosurgical) did not influence the use of monitoring. Canadian spine surgeons overwhelmingly reported that they use intraoperative neuromonitoring to reduce the risk of adverse operative events, rather than because of liability concerns. Most respondents believed that monitoring should be used in the correction of major deformity and scoliosis.
The availability of spinal monitoring in Canada is variable. Most surgeons believe that it is an important adjunct to improve patient safety.
Neck or back problems are experienced at some time by many Americans and many patients receive recommendations for spinal surgery. Patients naturally seek another opinion to confirm the need for surgery, or for the particular procedure recommended.
Over approximately a 14-month period, the author prospectively collected data regarding 240 consecutive patients seeking a surgical opinion regarding a spine problem. Imaging studies were reviewed and patients were asked to comment on the consultation experience.
Of the 240 patients, 155 (65%) came for a second, third, or fourth surgical opinion following an earlier opinion from a surgeon who recommended an operation. Of these patients, the author recommended no surgery for 69 (44.5%) patients. The remaining 85 (35%) were referred by primary care doctors or neurologists for initial surgical (first) opinions because of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) reports indicating the presence of surgical lesions. The author recommended no surgery for 37 (43%) of these 85 patients.
Patients request and deserve the attention of a physician who will listen to their history and perform a careful neurological examination. The results of the neurological examination and the imaging studies must then be carefully integrated and correlated with the patient's complaints. The results should be explained to the patient so that he or she will understand the surgical or non surgical nature of his or her problem.
Imaging studies; not satisfied; spinal surgery; very helpful
The terms ‘minimally invasive’ or ‘less invasive surgery’ have been used recently to describe surgical approaches or operations that are performed with less trauma to anatomical structures on the way to or surrounding the surgical ‘target area’. These types of surgical procedures are usually performed with the help of ‘high-tech’ instruments such as surgical endoscopes or surgical microscopes, modern video techniques and automated instruments. Within the last 10 years, such techniques have been developed in the field of spinal surgery. The application of minimally or less invasive procedures has concentrated predominantly on anterior approaches to the thoracic and lumbar spine. This article describes two anterior approach techniques for performing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) through a minimally invasive retroperitoneal or transperitoneal approach. The technical principles are microsurgical modifications of traditional anterior approaches to the lumbar spine. Through small (4-cm) skin incisions, the target area can be exposed. Preliminary results suggest decreased peri - and postoperative morbidity, less blood loss, earlier rehabilitation and acceptable complication rates. The technique is currently used by the author for all patients requiring anterior lumbar interbody fusion.
Key words Microsurgery; Lumbar spine; Mini ALIF; Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
Optimal outcome in spine surgery is dependent of the coordination of efforts by the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and neurophysiologist. This is perhaps best illustrated by the rising use of intraoperative spinal cord monitoring for complex spine surgery. The challenges presented by neurophysiologic monitoring, in particular the use of somatosensory and motor evoked potentials, requires an understanding by each member for the team of the proposed operative procedure as well as an ability to help differentiate clinically important signal changes from false positive changes. Surgical, anesthetic, and monitoring issues need to be addressed when relying on this form of monitoring to reduce the potential of negative outcomes in spine surgery. This article provides a practical overview from the perspective of the neurophysiologist, the anesthesiologist, and the surgeon on the requirements which must be understood by these participants in order to successfully contribute to a positive outcome when a patient is undergoing complex spine surgery.
Anesthesia; Spine surgery; Spinal cord monitoring; Somatosensory evoked potentials; Motor evoked potentials
Retrospective review of the results of somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP) performed in cervical spine surgery.
To evaluate the utility of spinal cord monitoring during cervical spine surgery in a single surgeon's practice, based on how often it prompted an intraoperative intervention.
Overview of Literature
Intraoperative monitoring during cervical spine surgery is not a universally accepted standard of care. This is due in part to the paucity of literature regarding the impact of monitoring on patient management or outcome.
SSEP for tibial, median, and ulnar nerves were monitored in 809 consecutive cervical spine operations performed by a single surgeon. The average patient age was 52 years (range, 2 to 88 years), with 472 males and 339 females. Cases were screened for significant degradation or loss of SSEP data. Specific attention was paid to 1) what interventions were performed in response to the SSEP degradation with subsequent improvement, and 2) whether SSEP changes corresponded with postoperative neurological deficits.
Seventeen of 809 patients (2.1%) had SSEP degradation that met warning criteria and therefore prompted intervention. Release of shoulder tape (8) or traction (4) most often resulted in SSEP improvement. Failure of SSEP data to return to within acceptable limits of baseline was associated with neurological deficit (p=0.04). Two patients awoke with new postoperative neurological deficits, which resolved in 6 hours and 2 months respectively. Patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) were at seven-fold greater risk of intraoperative SSEP degradation.
SSEP monitoring in this surgical population proved sensitive to perioperative factors which may increase the risk of postoperative neurologic deficit, and probably prevented neurological deficits in 15 of 809 patients (1.9%). Improvement in data following intervention appears to correlate well with unchanged neurologic status. Experience with intraoperative monitoring in this patient series has led to incorporation of these techniques as a standard of care in cervical spine surgeries performed by this surgeon.
Somatosensory evoked potentials; Cervical spine surgery; Postoperative neurological deficits
Although unilateral transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is widely used because of its benefits, it does have some technical limitations. Removal of disk material and endplate cartilage is difficult, but essential, for proper fusion in unilateral surgery, leading to debate regarding the surgery's limitations in removing the disk material on the contralateral side. Therefore, authors have conducted a randomized, comparative cadaver study in order to evaluate the efficiency of the surgery when using conventional instruments in the preparation of the disk space and when using the recently developed high-pressure water jet system, SpineJet™ XL.
Two spine surgeons performed diskectomies and disk preparations for TLIF in 20 lumbar disks. All cadaver/surgeon/level allocations for preparation using the SpineJet™ XL (HydroCision Inc., Boston, MA, USA) or conventional tools were randomized. All assessments were performed by an independent spine surgeon who was unaware of the randomizations. The authors measured the areas (cm2) and calculated the proportion (%) of the disk surfaces. The duration of the disk preparation and number of instrument insertions and withdrawals required to complete the disk preparation were recorded for all procedures.
The proportion of the area of removed disk tissue versus that of potentially removable disk tissue, the proportion of the area of removed endplate cartilage, and the area of removed disk tissue in the contralateral posterior portion showed 74.5 ± 17.2%, 18.5 ± 12.03%, and 67.55 ± 16.10%, respectively, when the SpineJet™ XL was used, and 52.6 ± 16.9%, 22.8 ± 17.84%, and 51.64 ± 19.63%, respectively, when conventional instrumentations were used. The results also showed that when the SpineJet™ XL was used, the proportion of the area of removed disk tissue versus that of potentially removable disk tissue and the area of removed disk tissue in the contralateral posterior portion were statistically significantly high (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, respectively). Also, compared to conventional instrumentations, the duration required to complete disk space preparation was shorter, and the frequency of instrument use and the numbers of insertions/withdrawals were lower when the SpineJet™ XL was used.
The present study demonstrates that hydrosurgery using the SpineJet™ XL unit allows for the preparation of a greater portion of disk space and that it is less traumatic and allows for more precise endplate preparation without damage to the bony endplate. Furthermore, the SpineJet™ XL appears to provide tangible benefits in terms of disk space preparation for graft placement, particularly when using the unilateral TLIF approach.
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; Diskectomy
Many surgeons continue to actively pursue surgical approaches that are less invasive for their patients. This pursuit requires the surgeon to adapt to new instruments, techniques, technologies, knowledge bases, visual perspectives, and motor skills, among other changes. The premise of this paper is that surgeons adopting minimally invasive approaches are particularly obligated to maintain an accurate perception of their own competencies and learning needs in these areas (ie, self-efficacy). The psychological literature on the topic of self-efficacy is vast and provides valuable information that can help assure that an individual develops and maintains accurate self-efficacy beliefs. The current paper briefly summarizes the practical implications of psychological research on self-efficacy for minimally invasive surgery training. Specific approaches to training and the provision of feedback are described in relation to potential types of discrepancies that may exist between perceived and actual efficacy.
Self-efficacy; Competence; Feedback; Surgical performance; Surgical technical skill
Robotic surgery is a cutting edge and minimally invasive procedure, which has generated a great deal of excitement in the urologic community. While there has been much advancement in this emerging technology, it is safe to say that robotic urologic surgery holds tremendous potential for progress in the near future. Hence, it is paramount that urologists stay up-to-date regarding new developments in the realm of robotics with respect to novel applications, limitations and opportunities for incorporation into their practice. Robot-assisted surgery provides an enhanced 3D view, increased magnification of the surgical field, better manual dexterity, relatively bloodless field, elimination of surgeon′s tremor, reduction in a surgeon′s fatigue and mitigation of scattered light. All these factors translate into greater precision of surgical dissection, which is imperative in providing better intraoperative and postoperative outcomes. Pioneering work assessing the feasibility of robotic surgery in urology began in the early 2000's with robot-assisted radical prostatectomy and has since expanded to procedures such as robot-assisted radical cystectomy, robot-assisted partial nephrectomy, robot-assisted nephroureterectomy and robot-assisted pyeloplasty. A MEDLINE search was used to identify recent articles (within the last two years) and publications of specific importance, which highlighted the recent developments and future direction of robotics. This review will use the aforementioned urologic surgeries as vehicles to evaluate the current status and future role of robotics in the advancement of the field of urology.
Bladder; cystectomy; laparoscopy; minimally invasive surgery; nephroureterectomy; nephrectomy; prostate; prostatectomy; pyeloplasty kidney; robotics
Laminoplasty for thoracic and lumbar spine surgery enables surgeons to preserve the posterior arch of the spine while preventing invasion of hematoma and scar tissue, postoperative instability, subluxation, and kyphotic deformities. The authors have developed a new surgical technique: namely, transverse placement laminoplasty (TPL) using titanium miniplates. Eight patients and 18 laminae underwent TPL using a titanium mini-plate. The preoperative diagnoses were six intradural tumors, one ossification of a yellow ligament and one spontaneous spinal cord herniation. The mean blood loss was 219 g and the mean duration of surgery was 3 h and 54 min. The mean postoperative follow-up period was 2 years and 1 month. All eight patients started to sit with a soft brace within the second postoperative day, and were able to walk within the fifth postoperative day. There were no cases of spinal deformity, an invasion of hematoma or scar tissue into the spinal canal on magnetic resonance imaging, or back pain. TPL simultaneously enables surgeons to obtain sufficient field of vision and rigid early fixation of the reduced lamina at the time of surgery. Moreover, our novel technique also simplifies the postoperative treatment, while preserving the posterior arch of the spine, and also preventing an invasion of a hematoma and scar tissue, postoperative instability, subluxation, and kyphotic deformities.
Laminoplasty; Thoracic and lumbar lesion; Intradural tumor
Laparoscopic rectal surgery is feasible, oncologically safe, and offers better short-term outcomes than traditional open procedures in terms of pain control, recovery of bowel function, length of hospital stay, and time until return to working activity. Nevertheless, laparoscopic techniques are not widely used in rectal surgery, mainly because they require a prolonged and demanding learning curve that is available only in high-volume and rectal cancer surgery centres experienced in minimally invasive surgery. Robotic surgery is a new technology that enables the surgeon to perform minimally invasive operations with better vision and more intuitive and precise control of the operating instruments, promising to overcome some of the technical difficulties associated with standard laparoscopy. The aim of this review is to summarise the current data on clinical and oncological outcomes of minimally invasive surgery in rectal cancer, focusing on robotic surgery, and providing original data from the authors’ centre.
rectal cancer; total mesorectal excision; laparoscopic surgery; robotic surgery
Standardized and validated self-administered outcome-instruments are broadly used in spinal surgery. Despite a plethora of articles on outcome research, no systematic evaluation is available on what actually comprises a good outcome in spinal surgery from the patients’ and surgeons’ perspective, respectively. However, this is a prerequisite for improving outcome instruments. In performing a cross-sectional survey among spine patients from different European regions and spine surgeons of the SSE, the study attempted (1) to identify the most important domains determining a good outcome from a patients’ as well as a surgeon’s perspective, and (2) to explore regional differences in the identified domains. For this purpose, a structured interview was performed among 30 spine surgeons of the SSE and 353 spine surgery patients (representing Northern, Central and Southern Europe) to investigate their criteria for a good outcome. A qualitative and descriptive approach was used to evaluate the data. Results revealed a high agreement on what comprises a good outcome among surgeons and patients, respectively. The main parameters determining good outcome were achieving the patients’ expectations/satisfaction, pain relief, improvement of disability and social reintegration. Younger patients more often expected a complete pain relief, an improved work capacity, and better social life participation. Patients in southern Europe more often wanted to improve work capacity compared to those from central and northern European countries. No substantial differences were found when patients’ and surgeons’ perspective were compared. However, age and differences in national social security and health care system (“black flags”) have an impact on what is considered a good outcome in spinal surgery.
Outcome assessment; Spinal surgery; Surgeons’ perspective; Patients’ perspective; Black flags
Minimally invasive spine surgery is becoming more common in the treatment of adult lumbar degenerative disorders. Minimally invasive techniques have been utilized for multilevel pathology, including adult lumbar degenerative scoliosis. The next logical step is to apply minimally invasive surgical techniques to the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). However, there are significant technical challenges of performing minimally invasive surgery on this patient population. For more than two years, we have been utilizing minimally invasive spine surgery techniques in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. We have developed the present technique to allow for utilization of all standard reduction maneuvers through three small midline skin incisions. Our technique allows easy passage of contoured rods, placement of pedicle screws without image guidance, and allows adequate facet osteotomy to enable fusion. There are multiple potential advantages of this technique, including: less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, earlier mobilization, and relatively less pain and need for pain medication. The operative time needed to complete this surgery is longer. We feel that a minimally invasive approach, although technically challenging, is a feasible option in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Although there are multiple perceived benefits, long term data is needed before it can be recommended for routine use.
Purpose of Review
Robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (RMIS) holds great promise for improving the accuracy and dexterity of a surgeon while minimizing trauma to the patient. However, widespread clinical success with RMIS has been marginal. It is hypothesized that the lack of haptic (force and tactile) feedback presented to the surgeon is a limiting factor. This review explains the technical challenges of creating haptic feedback for robot-assisted surgery and provides recent results that evaluate the effectiveness of haptic feedback in mock surgical tasks.
Haptic feedback systems for RMIS are still under development and evaluation. Most provide only force feedback, with limited fidelity. The major challenge at this time is sensing forces applied to the patient. A few tactile feedback systems for RMIS have been created, but their practicality for clinical implementation needs to be shown. It is particularly difficult to sense and display spatially distributed tactile information. The cost-benefit ratio for haptic feedback in RMIS has not been established.
The designs of existing commercial RMIS systems are not conducive for force feedback, and creative solutions are needed to create compelling tactile feedback systems. Surgeons, engineers, and neuroscientists should work together to develop effective solutions for haptic feedback in RMIS.
Haptics; Force; Tactile; Robotics; Minimally Invasive Surgery
The use of transperitoneal endoscopic approaches to the distal segments of the lumbar spine has recently been described. This has been the catalyst for the development of other minimally invasive anterior ¶approaches to the spine. This review looks at the published results so ¶far, and highlights the principles, techniques and complications. The limitations of laparoscopic approaches have meant that surgeons are moving on to endoscopic extraperitoneal and mini-open approaches, but important lessons ¶have been learnt during this short rapid phase of development. The efficacy and safety of minimal access techniques in the spine have been ¶established, and outcome standards set by which future techniques can ¶be judged. The importance of ¶proper training is emphasised.
Key words Laparoscopy; Anterior fusion; Lumbar spine; Minimally invasive spine surgery; Review
Although increasingly aggressive decompression and resection methods have resulted in improved outcomes for patients with metastatic spine disease, these aggressive surgeries are not feasible for patients with numerous comorbid conditions. Such patients stand to benefit from management via minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS), given its association with decreased perioperative morbidity. We performed a systematic review of literature with the goal of evaluating the clinical efficacy and safety of MIS in the setting of metastatic spine disease. Results suggest that MIS is an efficacious means of achieving neurological improvement and alleviating pain. In addition, data suggests that MIS offers decreased blood loss, operative time, and complication rates in comparison to standard open spine surgery. However, due to the paucity of studies and low class of available evidence, the ability to draw comprehensive conclusions is limited. Future investigations should be conducted comparing standard surgery versus MIS in a prospective fashion.
Both endoscopic lumbar spinal surgery and the non-standardized and unstable retractor systems for the lumbar spine presently on the market have disadvantages and limitations in relation to the minimally invasive surgical concept, which have been gradually recognized in the last few years. In an attempt to resolve some of these issues, we have developed a highly versatile retractor system, which allows access to and surgery at the lumbar, thoracic and even cervical spine. This retractor system – Synframe – is based on a ring concept allowing 360° access to a surgical opening in anterior as well as posterior surgery. The ring is concentrically laid over the surgical opening for the approach and is used as a carrier for retractor arms, which are instrumented with either different sizes or types of blades and/or different sizes of Hohmann hooks. In posterior surgery, nerve root retractors can also be installed. This ring also functions as a carrier for fiberoptic illumination devices and different sizes of endoscopes, used to transmit the surgical procedure out of the depth of the surgical exposure for both teaching purposes and for the surgical team when it has no longer direct visual access to the procedure. The ring is stable, being fixed onto the operating table, allowing precise minimally open approaches and surgical procedures under direct vision with optimal illumination. This ring system also opens perspectives for an integrated minimally open surgical concept, where the ring may be used as a reference platform in computer-navigated surgery.
Key words Minimally invasive ¶surgery; Spine surgery; Laparoscopy; Lumbar spinal fusion; Lumbar disc surgery
With the rapidly evolving techniques for minimally invasive surgery (MIS), general surgeons are challenged to incorporate advanced procedures into their practices. We therefore carried out a study to assess the state of MIS practice in Ontario.
A questionnaire was mailed to 390 general surgeons in Ontario. It addressed the surgeon's practice demographics, performance of both basic and advanced MIS procedures, the factors influencing this practice and the means of obtaining MIS training.
Of the 390 general surgeons surveyed, 309 (79%) responded. Thirty-six of these were retired and were excluded from the analysis, leaving 273 available for study. The average age in the study group was 49.7 years; 247 (90%) were men. Of 272 who responded to the question, 116 (43%) had subspecialty training. The average surgeon's operating room (OR) time was 1.5 d/wk and the average waiting time for elective procedures was 4 weeks. We found that 257 (94%) respondents performed basic laparoscopic procedures, and 164 (60%) performed appendectomy; 135 (49%) performed at least 1 advanced laparoscopic procedure in their practice, although only 30 (22%) of these performed inguinal hernia repair. Using a Likert scale, we found that the most important factors influencing the incorporation of advanced laparoscopic procedures into surgical practice were a lack of OR time (median 4), lack of OR financial resources (median 4) and lack of training opportunities (median 4). Of surgeons responding to questions, 161 (64%) of 251 felt that the present medical environment did not allow them to meet standard-of-care requirements; they felt that it was the responsibility of academic surgical departments (214 [80%] of 268), the Canadian Association of General Surgeons (177 [68%] of 262) and the Ontario Association of General Surgeons (141 [53%] of 264) to provide continuing medical education courses for MIS training.
The ability of practising general surgeons to incorporate advanced MIS procedures into their surgical practice remains a complex issue.