Cape Girardeau Neurosurgeon Performs Nation's First SI Joint Fusion Using Latest Mazor X Platform

August 25, 2017

DrKevinVaughtSoutheastHEALTH Neurosurgeon Kevin Vaught, MD, of Regional Brain and Spine, is the first neurosurgeon in the U.S. to perform a sacroiliac joint (SI) fusion using the latest generation of the Mazor XTM robotic surgical platform.

The Mazor X was put into use at Southeast Hospital earlier this month. The hospital is the first in Missouri with the Mazor X platform. The system combines unprecedented pre-operative planning tools and analytics with unparalleled intra-operative guidance, giving patients the most advanced spinal surgery options available.

SI joint dysfunction is improper movement of the joints at the bottom of the spine that connects the sacrum to the pelvis that results in pain in the lower back or upper legs and inflammation of the SI joint, Dr. Vaught explains. The sacrum is a triangular shaped bone at the bottom of the spine below the lumbar region and connects to the pelvic bones known as the iliac crest on the right and left side of the SI joints. “These joints act as shock absorbing structures and typically only move a small amount,” Dr. Vaught says.

SI joint pain normally occurs from the joint moving too little due to degenerative joint disease or too much due to loose ligaments that support the joints due to pregnancy or trauma. Dr. Vaught adds that “approximately 25 percent of low back pain is due to SI joint dysfunction. Most patients will improve with conservative care such as therapy and injections.”

If surgery is necessary, the procedure typically lasts less than an hour and requires an overnight stay in the hospital. “Most patients appreciate significant pain relief soon after surgery,” adds Dr. Vaught.

Patient benefits of Mazor minimally-invasive procedures include less pain, less blood loss, smaller incisions, shorter hospitalization and a quicker recovery time. Of particular benefit to patients with the Mazor X is a dramatic reduction in radiation exposure during surgery.