Robotic and Endoscopic Spine Surgeon Dr. Michael Gallizzi Performs His 200th Robotic Surgery
Apr 6, 2023
More than 100 of those surgeries have come since Dr. Gallizzi arrived at The Steadman Clinic in March 2022
VAIL, Colo. – Robotic and endoscopic spine surgeon Dr. Michael Gallizzi, one of newest additions to The Steadman Clinic’s highly decorated and elite surgical team, performed his 200th robotic surgery on April 4th. It was less than one year ago—April 19, 2022—that Dr. Gallizzi completed his 100th robotic surgery reaching that milestone less than a month after joining the Steadman team, following a very successful practice in the nearby Denver area.
Needless to say, it’s been a very busy and extremely productive first year for Dr. Gallizzi in Vail as he has had over 100 patients experience the benefits of his groundbreaking robotic procedures.
What has been the major impetus behind this surge in robotic and minimally invasive spinal procedures?
“The biggest thing—especially when you're revising previous constructs or someone's previous fusion—is that you have the ability to build off their old surgery and then add the new surgical components,” continued Dr. Gallizzi. “Being able to preoperatively plan all the different aspects of the surgery, line up the screws or implant them exactly where they need to be is an advantage when you use the robotic tool. So it all becomes a homologous construct for the patient. Without robotics, this would be extremely difficult even in the best hands, but with robotics it has become something that is more reliable and reproducible to allow patients that have had previous surgeries to have improved outcomes. Overall, the enthusiasm around having a robotic procedure, the clinical outcomes and the patients’ recovery has been tremendously positive.”
One of the big selling points on robotic spinal procedures is the precision that the surgeon can achieve with the use of the robotic tool. That feature, coupled with the continual advances in surgical techniques, has made robotic procedures one of the fastest growing areas of orthopaedic surgery, particularly in revision cases.
The reputation of The Steadman Clinic and its history of innovation must also be recognized as a spur to the quick growth in the numbers of Dr. Gallizzi’s surgeries since his arrival in Vail.
“The long-standing innovative history that Dr. Steadman initiated at his Clinic really drove it to be one of the country’s leaders in orthopaedic surgery,” Dr. Gallizzi said. “All of us at The Steadman Clinic continue that belief and follow those practices that Dr. Steadman established in making the patient’s recovery and return to activity as efficient and pain-free as possible.
“Our robotics program works with that same philosophy,” Dr. Gallizzi continued. “Any major institution throughout the United States has a robotics program. And we have the same service line that any major academic hospital has because of that.
What lies ahead for Dr. Gallizzi and the rapidly growing field of robotics surgery?
“It's the case application of robotic surgery that enables the procedures to continue to grow,” said Dr. Gallizzi. “I've been using the robot for some posterior cervical work, which was typically done in a more open fashion.
“We're also able to start applying it to the younger athletes with pars repair, which is a surgical method to treat a pars defect, a condition that affects the lumbar/lower spine. Treatment is required to stabilize portions of the lower and upper vertebrae that have become separated from repeated stress and strain. We encounter this a lot with freestyle skiers and ski jumpers.
“One of the newer uses of the robotic tool is in the revision space,” added Dr. Gallizzi. “For some cases where we need to remove hardware, I'm actually able to put the scope through the robot as a targeting tool. There I do some of the work with the scope, in combination with the robot to be able to remove deep hardware that's hard to access.”
Dr. Gallizzi was invited to the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery to give a lecture about the current state of robotic surgery at their conference in Melbourne, Australia in May. “I will be headed there to talk about the current challenges we face and where we're going with robotic spine surgery. Here in Colorado, it went from me being the first user of this system back in 2019 to where there are now about 17 robots of this type placed in our state alone. That's just in a four-year timespan. That's how much things have changed. You can imagine that probably 15 years from now, if you're not using robotic technology in some way, shape or form it may be a struggle, because patients will demand precise, reproducible surgery.”
For further information, contact Lynda Sampson, vice president of external affairs at The Steadman Clinic (firstname.lastname@example.org).