By Dr. Payam Moazzaz
You probably know someone personally who has experienced back pain. That’s because back pain is not only common, it’s an epidemic! An estimated 75 to 85 percent of all Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. Back pain is also the leading cause of disability in people younger than 45.
A lot of my patients have very serious and painful spine conditions. They have tried conventional methods such as physical therapy, medications, or injections and have not found any relief. These people need a permanent solution to their problem so that they can get on with their lives without suffering from back pain.
In 2012, I was first introduced to a new technology that has revolutionized the way I care for these patients — robotic spine surgery. Since then I have performed hundreds of robotic spinal surgeries with amazing results.
The Mazor Robotics Renaissance Guidance System that I use is a state-of-the-art surgical guidance system that allows surgeons to perform safer and less invasive surgeries. Spine surgery involves careful planning and precision. Every millimeter matters when it comes to your spine. The robot accounts for each patient’s unique individual anatomy and this technology allows me to literally map out the patient’s spine in 3D and deliver the most accurate and precise surgical technique available.
One of my favorite things about robotic spine surgery is that I am able to plan out the surgery for each patient on my computer ahead of time in a virtual 3-D environment. I tell my patients that a lot of their surgery is already done before they ever enter the operating room. Once we are in the OR, the robot allows me to reproduce the surgery I planned ahead of time with incredible accuracy.
While I have been fortunate to operate and visit with some of the best surgeons in the United States and abroad, the robot is more accurate than even the most skilled surgeon. This has actually been shown in research studies. Even the most experienced surgeon has good days and bad days. But the robot doesn’t. The robotic technology is extremely consistent — it gets it right every time.
I treat my patients as if they were my own family members. If someone in my family needed back surgery, I would insist they have robotic surgery. This technology allows the surgeon to perform procedures with better outcomes, less pain, less time under anesthesia, and shorter recovery times. This also means there is much less bleeding during surgery so it would be extremely unusual for a patient to need a blood transfusion with robotic spinal surgery. In most of my cases, the patients are up and walking the very same day of their surgery and many are going home the next day.
So, if you are considering back surgery because nothing else has worked for you, check out robotic surgery. I truly believe in this technology — mostly because I have seen first-hand how it benefits my patients. This is the best advancement in surgery that I have seen — the future is here!
Dr. Payam Moazzaz is with New Era Spine with offices in Oceanside and San Diego.