It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but surgeries involving robotics and lasers are routine at Physician Partners of America. Our surgeons use cutting-edge tools to perform complex and precise procedures, allowing them to help patients by mitigating chronic pain, explicitly targeting tumors, and inserting neuromodulation devices, among other interventions. In addition, the minimally invasive nature of these procedures reduces the risk of complications and shortens recovery times for patients.
Many of these high-tech techniques use interventional radiology (IR), a method whereby surgery is guided by live medical imaging including x-ray fluoroscopy and MRI. Surgeons can, for example, treat cancer by delivering tumor-fighting medication directly to the source of the illness through pinhole-sized incisions, targeting trouble spots without compromising other essential functions. In addition, surgeries performed using IR have significant advantages. In contrast, conventional surgery requires the doctor to reference still images taken before the procedure. With IR, the surgeon can “see” into the patient in real-time, eliminating ambiguity and surprises.
Laser spine surgery, a specialty of PPOA, is just as precise at treating spinal conditions, including degenerative disc disease, sciatica, and spinal stenosis. Through incisions smaller than an inch, surgeons use lasers to treat a variety of painful conditions. For stenosis, lasers relieve pressure on the spinal column from bony growths or deformation of the vertebrae by removing excess bone. To address osteoarthritis, facet thermal ablation deadens painful nerves without compromising feeling or movement.
Neuromodulation involves placing a small device near the spinal cord to electrically or pharmaceutically stabilize the nervous system like a pacemaker stabilizes heart rhythms. The procedure is minimally invasive and can treat ailments from chronic pain and incontinence to Parkinson’s Disease and ischemic disorders. Neuromodulation can even treat deafness via cochlear implants, which, instead of regulating existing nerve activity, actually create a response where none had existed.
PPOA is always mindful of the addictive potential of potent opioids and strives to give its patients a wide range of options to treat chronic pain. Thankfully, in 2021 technology has advanced enough that lasers and independent robotic implants are part of that range! To learn more about our modern technology and techniques, please contact your local PPOA clinic.