Advanced Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Now Available at Pardee UNC Health Care

The ExcelsiusGPS™ Spine Robot brings the latest in technology and provides an even greater level of precision to spinal surgery. The Robotic-assisted surgery puts the surgeon’s hands at the controls of a robotic platform so refined that even the most complex, delicate procedures can be performed through very small incisions with unmatched precision.


  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less tissue damage
  • Smaller incisions, which may lead to smaller scars
  • Less radiation exposure
  • Potential for faster recovery
  • May provide reduced pain
  • Increased accuracy and precision for placement of implants and use of surgical instruments
  • Lessens risk of complications
  • Increased safety for patient and surgical team


The Globus ExcelsiusGPS™ Spine Robot is used for conditions that require spinal fusion, including:

Degenerative Disc Disease: In the normal spine, your discs act as a cushion between vertebrae. Over time the discs can lose flexibility, elasticity, and height. When this happens, they lose their shock absorbing characteristics and can lead to abnormal motion or alignment of the spine, which may result in pain. Symptoms may include pain or numbness in the back or legs. This pain may increase with activities that involve sitting for extended periods, bending or twisting.

Spondylolisthesis: A condition in which one of the vertebrae slips forward or backward. If left untreated, this can lead to deformity of the spine and narrowing of the spinal canal. Symptoms may include low back pain, muscle spasms, thigh or leg pain, and weakness.

Spinal Stenosis: A condition in which there is a narrowing of areas in the spine where nerve roots and the spinal cord must travel. It is most commonly caused by age-related spinal degeneration. This narrowing can put pressure on the nerves and cause pain. Symptoms may include pain and tingling weakness or numbness. Pain is likely to be present or worsen when you stand or walk, and lessen or disappear when you sit down or lean forward.

Spinal Fusion: Fusion is a means of stabilizing the spine by join two vertebrae together. Pedicle screws and rods are used to stabilize and hold the spinal segment in the place while fusion occurs.

Patients with these conditions often suffer with debilitating symptoms like:

  • Low Back Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Uneven Legs, Hips, or Shoulders
  • Abnormal Gait
  • Breathing Difficulties from Ribcage Pressure on Lungs
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery combines your surgeon’s understanding of anatomy with x-ray imaging to treat spine conditions using small incisions. A minimally invasive technique >permits the surgeon to separate the muscles surrounding the spine rather than cut through them. The surgeon operates through small incisions along the spine.

It is important to understand that the decision to receive minimally invasive surgery is individualized to the patient and the patient's symptoms. It is important to discuss with your physician whether minimally invasive surgery is right for you.

What are the advantages of robot-assisted spine surgery?

Robot-assisted spine surgery is a huge advantage for our patients. It decreases blood loss, time in surgery and radiation exposure in the operating room. It allows physicians to accurately and safely place spinal implants around important structures like nerves with high precision.

What is ExcelsiusGPS Robotic Guidance and Navigation?

Robotic guidance acts as an assistant for your surgeon. The robotic arm aligns tools along a planned pathway to place your screw implants. Navigation is a way for your surgeon to see the tools in relation to your body on a screen as they are being used. The robot’s assistance gives the surgeon improved tools to complete these procedures with high safety and accuracy.

Does the robot perform the treatment?

No. There is a misconception that the robot performs the surgery. Instead, the robot assists the surgeon during the procedure. It helps us determine the patient's anatomy through high-resolution 3D imaging to create a roadmap for placing spinal implants. The surgeon is still performing the surgery but has better and more accurate information, which allows them to successfully and safely complete the procedure.

What should I expect on the day of surgery?

STEP 1: Medical images are taken and imported into ExcelsiusGPS®.
STEP 2: Your surgeon plans the size and placement of pedicle screws based on your medical images.
STEP 3: The plan is used to guide the robotic arm to the surgeon’s planned pathway, similar to a planned route on your car GPS.
STEP 4: The pathway or route is used to accurately place screws using navigated tools. The surgeon can see the surgical tools and your implant on the screen through the whole procedure.

What can I expect after surgery?

A minimally invasive procedure typically allows patients to get out of bed the day of the surgery and may be discharged the day after surgery. Many patients will notice improvement of some or all of their symptoms and pain from surgery may diminish between 2 to 4 weeks after surgery. However, recovery time varies between patients. It is the surgeon’s goal for the patient to eventually return to his/her pre-operative activities. A positive attitude, reasonable expectations and compliance with your doctor’s post-surgery instruction may all contribute to a satisfactory outcome.

Why was it important for Pardee to offer this service in our region?

Bringing robotic spine surgery to Western North Carolina shows the commitment of our organization in being a leader in comprehensive orthopedic care. Surgery may or may not be the appropriate treatment for certain spine conditions. Offering robot-assisted spine surgery continues our mission to offer patients the most advanced treatments available. It truly is a collaborative effort across multiple specialties. By working together, we are able to advance the field of spinal care for all of our patients.