LewisGale Medical Center unveils new robot

Dr. James Leipzig demonstrates the system on a model.

SALEM, Va. (WSET) -- What used to take Dr. James Leipzig 30 minutes, now takes him 30 seconds with the MazorX Robotic Guidance Platform.

"The precision is so much greater," Dr. Leipzig, who is in his 28th year as a spine surgeon said.

Before this system, X-rays were necessary during and after spinal surgeries.

Now, patients go through a CT scan before surgery. Doctors can then map out the entire procedure before the patient even gets into the operating room.

This not only speeds up procedures, but Dr. Leipzig said it can cut radiation exposure 80 percent.

"For an individual patient, we're not exposing them the old way, to a dangerous level of radiation," Dr. Leipzig said. "but for the surgeons, it's a pretty big deal. For the staff, it's a pretty big deal."

The robotic arm guides the surgeon to the exact spot on the spine to insert the screw.

Dr. Leipzig says that before this system, procedures could be impossible or unsuccessful on patients with certain anatomies.

"Sometimes we just can't find a way to get that screw in safely," Dr. Leipzig said. "It just makes what was really difficult, straightforward and easy."

With greater precision, comes shorter operating times. This means patients need less anesthesia and have faster recover times.

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