Tulane Health System is the first in the New Orleans region to offer physicians and patients the benefits of a new robotic guidance and navigation system that provides minimally invasive surgical options for several complex spinal, orthopedic and neurological conditions.

The ExcelsiusGPS™ system provides surgeons enhanced, real-time visualizations of a patient’s anatomy to help improve the accuracy of procedures. Better optics in turn allows for minimally invasive procedures, which often result in less blood loss, less muscle damage and a potentially faster recovery when compared to traditional surgeries.

“This is revolutionary technology. We now have the ability to treat patients with virtually any spinal condition through minimally invasive techniques coupled with never-before-seen accuracy and efficiency, said Dr. Christopher Maulucci, Tulane Neuroscience Center’s director of spinal surgery and robotics. “There’s no question we will decrease operative time and length of hospital stays through the use of robotics.”

The ExcelsiusGPS™ system helps guide surgeons along a patient’s spine to more accurately place implants using minimally invasive techniques. On the day of surgery, medical images are taken and imported into the system. The surgeon uses these images to determine the size and placement of implants and creates a plan based on the patient’s anatomy. This plan guides a rigid robotic arm to a specific region of the spine. Throughout the procedure, the surgical instruments and implants are continuously displayed on the screen for the surgeon and staff to monitor.

The system not only provides benefits to patients, but to operating room staff, as well. Traditional spine surgeries require multiple CT scans throughout the procedure. The improved imaging of the new system greatly reduces that need – and greatly reduces the amount of radiation exposure endured by patients and staff.

“This type of image-guided surgery is quickly becoming the standard of care,” Dr. Maulucci said. “It’s better for patients, and it allows us to expand the scope of minimally invasive cases we’re able to offer.”

This new technology will especially benefit people who need a lumbar, thoracic or cervical spinal fusion, Dr. Maulucci said, as well as anyone who has endured degenerative disc disease or traumatic spinal injuries. It can also help people with spinal instability due to scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, fractures and other conditions. 

Tulane physicians are currently training on the new technology and will likely see their first patient with it later this summer.

“This new technology represents the next step forward in Tulane Health System’s world-class robotic surgery program,” said Dr. William Lunn, Tulane Health System president and CEO. “From our urology team pioneering robotic surgery in the Gulf South more than 20 years ago to the latest advancements being developed here today in minimally invasive esophageal techniques, Tulane Health System has always been a leader in robotic surgery and the benefits it provides.

“We are thrilled to take another step forward and offer new, exciting options to our region.”

In addition to the ExcelsiusGPS™ system, Tulane Medical Center’s downtown campus also purchased its second da Vinci® Xi robotic surgery system, which provides minimally invasive surgical options for a variety of urologic, head and neck cancer, gynecologic, bariatric, endocrinologic and foregut surgeries. Together, the two surgery systems represent an investment of more than $3.5 million in new robotic surgery technologies.

Additionally, Tulane Medical Center’s Lakeview Regional Medical Center campus in Covington, Louisiana, purchased a da Vinci® Xi system late last year.

To learn more about Tulane Health System’s neuroscience and robotic surgery programs, visit Tulane Healthcare.