Sacred Heart

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Dr. K. Poelstra at Sacred Heart First Surgeon in the World to Reach Robotic Spine Surgery Milestone.

The Spine Center of Excellence at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast sees more than 70 surgical patients each month. Sacred Heart has led the way in transforming spine surgery from freehand procedures to highly efficient, surgeon assisted, robotic technologies.

Welcoming a robot into the operating room may sound like it should be reserved for science fiction, but Sacred Heart Hospital makes us forget it was ever anything but fact. Dr. Kornelis Poelstra is one of a handful of surgeons in the United States who has been expertly trained using the Mazor X, a robot used in spine surgeries that revolutionizes both the operation and the patient’s post-op experience. Poelstra, is the founder of Sacred Heart’s Spine Center, and is the first surgeon in the world to reach the milestone of 300 complex construction patient procedures using the state-of-the-art Mazor X™ Surgical Assurance platform.

“The Mazor X is a foundational piece of our robotic technology. We are proud to have brought the first Mazor X robot to the South-Eastern region of the U.S.,” said Roger Hall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. Our surgeons are continually redefining the standards of surgery by combining learned skill with advanced technology, benefiting not only our surgeons but our patients as well,” he added.

Poelstra has accomplished more than 550 robotic-assisted surgery cases altogether, utilizing various robotic platforms at SHHEC since 2014 with greater than 99.8% accuracy.

“I do on average 50 cases per month which includes lumbar reconstructive fusions, cervical reconstructions, non-fusion cases such as disc replacements and decompressions,” said Poelstra. “Our research has clearly shown evidence of improved surgical outcomes, greater patient safety, shorter operating times and faster recovery for our patients.”

“We simply are better prepared when we go into the operating room due to the 3-D global alignment software planning stage of the Mazor X system. Once I have planned my case, I can execute even the most difficult and complex spine surgery in a flawless fashion,” said Poelstra. Transitioning into the cervical spine has allowed us to do procedures of greater complexity to address spine tumors we would not have been able to do in the past. The progress is amazing and it is a privilege to be part of that,” he added.