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Robotic navigation system improves accuracy and speeds recovery for spinal surgery patients

Dr. Andrew Kokkino and the ExcelsiusGPS

Neurosurgeon Dr. Andrew Kokkino and the ExcelsiusGPS robotic navigation system 

October 21, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. –PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend is proud to be the first hospital in Oregon to use the ExcelsiusGPS robotic navigation system to assist with spinal surgeries.

This is the only robotic navigation system of its kind in the state of Oregon, according to the manufacturer Globus Medical Inc., which is based in Audubon, Penn.

“This tool enables us to increase the accuracy of spinal surgeries and assists with minimally invasive surgeries,” said Dr. Andrew Kokkino, a neurosurgeon with Oregon Neurosurgery, who is using the ExcelsiusGPS in a growing number of spinal surgeries. “Incisions are smaller, resulting in less blood loss and that means a faster recovery for the patient.” 

Darlene Dorman, RiverBend’s first patient to have surgery using the new robotic system, came away impressed.

Before her surgery, the 68-year-old Springfield retiree had trouble walking. She has rheumatoid arthritis and years of physical farm labor have taken a toll on her back.

She had spinal surgery on lower vertebrae in August 2018, and this most recent surgery fused vertebrae higher up her spine.

“The recovery was so much better this time,” Dorman said. “I had more movement and less pain.”

The robotic system plays a role in that. This surgery was less invasive than her first one and it didn’t take as long.

The ExcelsiusGPS is designed to increase the accuracy of the placement of screws, reduce overall procedure time and minimize radiation during spinal surgery. 

“This technology complements our current capabilities at the Oregon Neurosciences Institute at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend and advances our use of spinal navigation assistance during spinal surgery,” Kokkino said.

Dr. Daniel Hutton, with Oregon Neurosurgery, also is performing spinal surgeries using the Excelsius GPS.   

How it works: On surgery day, medical images of the patient are imported into the ExcelsiusGPS to create a map that guides the surgeon as he places spinal screws based on the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses this map to maneuver a rigid robotic arm to place each screw with extreme precision. During the procedure, the surgeon can view on a screen the tools in relation to the patient’s body.  To better visualize the technology, watch this helpful video. 

“We’re excited to have this opportunity to bring the latest technology to our patients and perform surgery more accurately, with more efficiency and ultimately with more safety,” Kokkino said. 

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at