What kind of surgeon do you call in when you’re dealing with an incredibly complex, rare procedure involving a cancerous tumor which affects just one in 1 million people each year? Quite possibly a robot one.
At least, that is what neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine did when they performed the world’s first robot-assisted spinal surgery. The complex procedure utilized cutting-edge robotic arms to remove a tumor in 27-year-old patient Noah Pernikoff’s neck — through his mouth.
The groundbreaking surgery took place at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and required more than 20 hours in the operating theater, carried out over the course of two days.
Due to the placement of the tumor in the patient’s neck, doctors were worried he risked permanent paralysis should something go wrong. In addition, if the entire tumor was not removed, it would likely grow back, perhaps even more aggressively than before.
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