The first-ever robot-assisted spinal surgery to successfully remove a rare tumor on the patient's neck was performed by a team of neurosurgeons led by an Indian-origin professor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
The robotic approach assisted with a three-part, two-day complex procedure for a rare chordoma tumor removal from a patients' neck, where the skull meets the spine.
Chordoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine. A chordoma tumor usually grows slowly and is often asymptomatic for years.
"This would be a first ever use of a robot in this manner -- a rare approach to an already rare and complex case," Neil Malhotra, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery said in a statement.
"Our team needed to reconstruct the removed area of patient's spine using bone and rods, and that was only the beginning," Malhotra added.
He added that due to the placement of the tumor, the removal could compromise the structural integrity of the patient's spine, causing permanent paralysis.
There was also a risk of complications such as bone and tissue breakdown, loss of sense of smell, fine motor skill issues and complete paralysis.
"If we could not remove the entire tumor, it would likely grow back, perhaps more aggressive than before," Malhotra added.
The surgery was performed in three parts and now nine months after the surgery, the patient is back to work in commercial contracting.