Brain & Spine

Unity Hospital First in State to Use GPS in Neurosurgery

Neurosurgeons at Unity Hospital are navigating their way to more accurate surgeries.

Aug. 6, 2019 3   min read

7d Surgical System for neurosurgery at Unity Hospital

Neurosurgeons at Rochester Regional Health’s Unity Hospital are navigating their way to safer and more accurate spine and brain surgeries. Unity Hospital is the first hospital in New York State to use a radiation-free navigation system in neurosurgery with the 7D Surgical System that acts as a detailed GPS for the spine and cranium during surgery. The new system makes spine and brain surgery safer thanks to zero radiation emitted.

“Safety is number one, always, when we’re taking care of patients,” said Anthony Petraglia, MD, Neurosurgeon at Rochester Regional Health. “The 7D Surgical System allows us to provide the same excellent level of service as always but with that much greater accuracy when we’re placing instrumentation around the spine.”

The machine uses Flash™ Registration cameras to help surgeons pinpoint exactly where to operate in real time during neurosurgery, and it allows doctors to see that they have performed the operation correctly without having to check an x-ray after the fact.

“I think it’s quite similar to aviation,” said Paul Maurer, MD, Chief of Neurosurgery at Rochester Regional Health. “You need to have a good pilot, and the purpose of modern technology is so that a good surgeon’s safety, efficacy, and efficiency is always enhanced. New technology in an aircraft doesn’t replace the pilot, it augments the safety…what this technology allows is for a surgeon to have incredible precision.”

First Man Up – Navy Vet. Bob Brown

71-year-old Vietnam veteran Bob Brown already had rheumatoid arthritis before he fell in the shower and fractured the C1 vertebrae in his neck. His arthritis complicated matters, so Dr. Petraglia turned to the new 7D Surgical System. Brown had successful surgery at Unity Hospital and was back home 24 hours later, a rarity among spine surgeries of this type.

“Every case is different, but for patients that typically undergo a surgery like this, it can be a two, three, or even four day stay in the hospital,” said Dr. Petraglia. “We saw Bob the next morning and he was up walking, moving, doing everything and ready to go.”

An avid outdoorsman, Brown is close to getting back to where he was before his fall. “I’m looking forward to driving my truck and my tractor, and working on my five acres again.”

Unity Hospital Leads the Way

Unity is one of only 13 hospitals in the country to feature the 7D Surgical System, and the only hospital in New York State—a fact that’s not lost on Dr. Petraglia.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for Unity Hospital to be at the forefront of the technology that’s paving the way for safety in spine surgery. We’re able to provide our patients with some of the finest care. We already did, and now it’s even better that we have technology like this.”


NEXT STEPS Neurosurgery at Rochester Regional Health

Our knowledgeable, experienced neurosurgical team at Rochester Regional Health offers expertise in treating a broad range of neurological conditions.

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