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Robot to do rare spine surgeries in UAE

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on August 18, 2020 | Last updated on August 18, 2020 at 12.49 pm
Robot, rare, spine surgeries, UAE, Burjeel Hospital

(Photo by Ryan Lim)

By next year, the robot will be able to perform procedures on the brain.

Robots are soon set to perform rare spinal surgeries in the UAE. Abu Dhabi-based Burjeel Hospital on Monday announced the launch of the region's first robotic navigation platform, which ensures accurate placement of implants with faster recovery time and more comfort for the patient.

The Excelsius-GPS (E-GPS) robot is developed by US-based Globus Medical, which has performed 20,000 surgeries in less than three years. This is the first time the robot will be performing surgeries in the region. It is pending licensing from the local health authorities.

Dr Amr El Shawarbi, consultant neurosurgeon and medical director of neurosciences (VPS) at Burjeel Hospital, noted that spinal surgeries are the most common ones performed in the UAE because of obesity and lifestyle of less physical activity.

"We have young patients. Some patients, including students, have deformities of the spinal cord. In adults, we have seen their spinal bone become weak and change positions," Dr El Shawarbi told Khaleej Times while elaborating through demonstration. The robot can be customised and set up in just 10 minutes for a procedure.

Dr El Shawarbi said that with a robotic arm and surgical navigation capabilities, the E-GPS enables surgeons to deliver better spinal implants.

"We have different experiences of surgeons placing these implants. If you want to unify the quality of care, then this robot helps with placement of implants with accuracy of less than 1.5mm. This ensures the same outcome everywhere. With no X-rays, the amount of radiation on patients is also avoided. We have 42 patients on the waiting list for spinal surgeries."

Brain procedures by next year

Paul Miele, vice-president for international markets, Globus Medical, revealed that next year, the robot with an upgraded software will be able to perform procedures on the brain.

"The technology to do deep brain stimulation and tumour sections of the brain will be launched commercially in the first quarter of next year. We will add software to the robot and it will be able to do spine and brain surgery. We have received approvals from the US government and are now waiting for the UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention."

John Sunil, CEO of Burjeel Hospital, said the latest technology will help perform complicated procedures with greater precision.
"We are pleased to be the first in the Mena region to launch the Excelsius-GPS robot technology. We believe the adoption of the latest robotic technology will help us in delivering superior-quality treatment."

An initial training is given to surgeons from the Department of Neurosciences on the E-GPS system, which will reduce operating time and improve accuracy by using both robotics and navigation. 


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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