Morton Plant Hospital Offers Robotic Option for Brain, Spine Procedures

August 05, 2015
CLEARWATER, Fla., (August 5, 2015)- Morton Plant Hospital is the first hospital in Pinellas County to offer a robotic option for patients who need spine or brain surgery.
Benefits to patients undergoing spine or brain surgery with the Mazor Robotics Renaissance Guidance System include faster recovery, reduced post-operative pain, lowered complication rates, and improved accuracy.
Among the conditions treated for spine surgery with the robot are: scoliosis; degenerative and herniated disc; spinal stenosis; fractures; reconstructive spine surgery; and trauma.
“Millimeters can mean everything in spine surgery. The precision we experience using the Mazor robot is just amazing,” said Harold Colbassani, Jr., MD. “Since we are able to use a minimally invasive approach, we are seeing that patients are able to get back on their feet more quickly and to resume their daily activities.”
The robot also is used for deep brain stimulation (DBS) to help patients with Parkinson’s Disease and essential tremor. Using the robot for these procedures allows for a frameless approach that can help patients to feel more comfortable by allowing them increased movement. Morton Plant is among four hospitals worldwide using this option for DBS.
“We now are able to have patients spend less time on the operating table,” said Dean Gobo, MD, neurosurgeon specializing in DBS surgery. “Typically, Parkinson’s patients also experience back problems and the reduced time for the whole process can increase their comfort.” 
Specially trained surgeons use 3D planning software to create a procedure suited for each patient’s condition. For spine surgery, physicians can plan what the rods and skin incisions will look like. For brain surgery patients, some will have the option of being asleep during the procedure, which can help relieve anxiety. (DBS patients often are awake during procedures so the surgeon can test their responses and reflexes.)  
The patient’s MRI scan is day before surgery, so patient goes straight to the operating room. In the operating room, the surgeon is guided by a unique surgical blueprint to place the implants, using minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.
“For essential tremor patients, DBS treatment helps patients better control their symptoms,” said Morton Plant Hospital neurologist Dr. Deborah Boland. “For Parkinson’s patients, DBS maximizes the quality of time when they’re functional. It also can lead to a reduction in the medications they need, potentially reducing side effects.” 
The robotics system was provided through the generosity of the Morton Plant Mease Foundation.
About Morton Plant Hospital
Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility. Our commitment to improving the health of everyone we serve is reflected in our community partnerships and many honors. Morton Plant is the only hospital in the United States to have been awarded Top 100 Hospital designations by the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success for a consecutive 13 years. Other hospital honors include: “Baby-Friendly” hospital status from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its efforts to support mothers’ decision to breast feed and received Florida Hospitals Association’s Innovation of the Year in Patient Care award. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas St., Clearwater, Fla.  For more information about Morton Plant Hospital, call (727) 953-6877 or go to
About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 13 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.