First-ever Awake Spine Surgery Performed at Walnut Creek

Walnut Creek, Calif. — Dr. Terrence Cheng, a neurospine surgeon at John Muir Health, recently performed the first awake spine surgery at the health system’s Walnut Creek Medical Center.

The procedure to fuse the patient’s L4 and L5 vertebrae was performed using the Globus ExcelsiusGPS® Robotic Spine Surgery System. Patient Roberto Ronald had been suffering from back pain in recent years due to disc degeneration. He had a successful spinal surgery performed by Chen in 1995.


John Muir Health spokesman Ben Drew said the surgery involved some procedures, including Ronald’s “next generation” minimally invasive intradiscal lumbar interbody fusion (IntraLIF). Spinal anesthesia is used for

Drew said Chen used the Globus ExcelsiusGPS® robot to plan and place the screws needed for the surgery before implanting the RISE® IntraLif® device in the disc space to complete the spinal fusion procedure. .

With advanced 3D imaging and robotics, patients benefit from shorter surgical times and shorter spinal anesthesia durations. Compared to conventional procedures, minimally invasive approaches using 3D imaging and robotics can also reduce the extent of surgical openings, tissue trauma, and radiation exposure.

“The operation was a great success and Mr. Ronald was able to go home the same day,” Chen said. “There is no need for general anesthesia, so recovery is quicker. Make sure you can.”

Ronald began physical therapy at the medical center two hours after leaving the operating room.

“What’s happening makes me feel more secure,” Ronald said. “I felt much better after the surgery than I had ever experienced with general anesthesia. I feel good and have no pain.”

At home, Rondaldo used acetaminophen to control his pain and was grateful that he didn’t have to spend a long time in the hospital.

“Awake spine surgery has many benefits for patients, including recovery time, narcotic use and pain management during surgery, and the ability to recover at home,” Cheng said. Eligible patients of John Muir Health. ”

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