World first in robotic surgery in Amiens

The spine was modelled in 3D for surgeons to train on. © CHU Amiens

Double world first for the Amiens CHU (University hospital center, northern France): a 6 year-old child suffering from severe scoliosis was operated on with success thanks to robotic surgery, carried out from simulation exercises on a 3D printed spine.

Young Louis’ spine had a 50% curve that compelled him six months ago to remain lying down permanently. On September 28, he benefited from an unprecedented robotic operation, announced the Amiens CHU this October 10: the implantation of sacroiliac screws in the pelvic bone linked by bent rods to straighten up the back. This implantation of a 7mm diameter screw in an 8mm bone corridor close to nerve roots is rare and very complex. It was carried out thanks to the assistance of a robotic arm, with computer and camera. The robot Rosa allows smaller incisions, better precision and a reduction in postoperative pain.

The robotic arm Rosa, surgeons’ assistant at the Amiens CHU. © CHU Amiens

To prepare the operation, the surgeons repeated their gestures for several months within SimUSanté, the largest European medical simulation center, linked to the Amiens CHU. They trained twice on a dummy, the spine of which, modelled from the scan of the boy’s back, was printed in 3D. Each simulation exercise, carried out in conditions similar to the operating block, enabled to reduce the operation time (that lasted three hours) and better apprehend the real operation.

The young boy, in rehabilitation, is recovering well from the operation, can sit down and breathe better, according to the CHU. Four other children should be able to benefit from this new surgical technique in the next few months with robot assistance and simulation on 3D printing.

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