Penn performs first ever robot-assisted spinal surgery

Penn surgeons made history by completing the first ever robot assisted spinal surgery.

Surgeons used a trans-oral robotics approach (TORS) which uses a minimally invasive process to remove tumors. The patient who received the surgery last summer, 27-year-old Noah Pernikoff, has since made a full recovery.

“The capability of this technology and procedure is revolutionary,” said Bert O’Malley, a professor at Penn and chairman of the department of Otorhinolaryngology in a Philadelphia Magazine article. “This surgery was groundbreaking, and it’s a wonderful example of how versatile TORS is for tumors in the head, neck, and now spine.”

This is one of many medical breakthroughs happening in the Greater Philadelphia region. Others include CHOP’s first pediatric double hand transplant in the summer of 2016 and Spark Therapeutics’ development of the first gene therapy treatment to be approved in the U.S.