Baptist Health South Florida, Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital Completes Its First Robotic Assisted Spine Surgery

March 24, 2021

The Institute is the only facility in the area to feature this highly sophisticated technology

BOCA RATON, FL – March 24, 2021 – Using state-of-the art technology that promises to become tomorrow’s standard of care, neurosurgeons at Marcus Neuroscience Institute, Frank Vrionis, M.D. and Timothy Miller, M.D., have successfully performed their first robotic-assisted spine surgery. The Institute, located at Baptist Health’s Boca Raton Regional Hospital, is the only facility in Palm Beach and Broward counties to offer this advanced technology and one of only two facilities between Central Florida and the Florida Keys.

The patient, a man in his 70s, underwent a spinal fusion to stabilize the lumbar area of his back using the Mazor X™ Robotic Guidance Platform.

“Robotics allow us to perform surgeries with increased safety and precision, leading to less blood loss, less post-operative pain and faster recovery,” says neurosurgeon Frank Vrionis, M.D., the Institute’s director. “With our new sophisticated robotic system, we will be able to perform more minimally invasive procedures safely and effectively. This is particularly beneficial to our aging population, because it reduces the risk of infection and shortens hospital stays.”

The robotics platform assists surgeons by combining 3D pre-operative planning, robotic guidance and intra-operative surgical navigation for precise placement of spinal implants and screws. “The margin of error is very small in the spine,” Dr. Vrionis says. “If you’re placing hardware in the spine, there are times when one millimeter is all it takes to leave a person with weakness or a neurological problem. The more precise we can be, the better.”

The Mazor X™ Robotic Guidance Platform provides surgeons comprehensive information and visualization before ever making an incision. Using 3D imaging and computer analytics, the surgeon plans an optimal surgery in a CT-based 3D simulation of the patient’s spine. This means the angle, width and length of every screw are very specifically mapped for each patient and guided in real time during surgery.

During surgery, the robot “arm” with multiple joints gives the surgeon the exact, individualized trajectory to place screws, cages or other implants within the bones. Advanced intra-operative imaging and 3D cameras synchronize the position of the robotic surgical arm with the pre-op surgical blueprint. The robotic arm serves as a guide as the surgeon inserts tools and implants, ensuring the correct location, trajectory and depth.

“Like other robotic-assisted technologies, this system enhances the surgeon’s human skills to deliver superior precision — all while the surgeon retains full control of the procedure,” Dr. Vrionis explains. “The robotic guidance helps surgeons execute the custom surgical plan with exceptional precision through micro incisions.”

As spinal surgery has evolved, more focus has been placed on minimally invasive techniques. However, smaller incisions can pose a challenge to surgeons due to the limited view of the patient’s anatomy. By combining 3D pre-operative planning, robotic guidance and intra-operative surgical navigation, the robotic platform will assist surgeons in the treatment of many spine conditions.

Among them is spinal fusion surgery, a procedure that fuses together damaged vertebrae using a bone graft to create a single, solid bone. Screws and rods are often used to hold the bones together. The goal is to eliminate pain by stabilizing the spine. Other conditions that could benefit from robotic-guided spine surgery include degenerative disc disease, spinal deformity, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, revisions of previous surgeries, radiculopathy, complex scoliosis, tumor surgery and others.

“This technology will set the standard for the future of minimally invasive spine surgery,” says Lincoln Mendez, Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s CEO. “By bringing this new technology to our area, we are helping promote faster recovery times, reducing postoperative pain and improving results for our patients. We are committed to getting patients back to doing what they love most as quickly as possible.”

Led by Dr. Vrionis, Baptist Health’s Marcus Neuroscience Institute team members include neurosurgeons Timothy Miller Jr., M.D., Brian M. Snelling, M.D., Evan M. Packer, M.D. and Lloyd Zucker, M.D. To learn more about the Institute’s spine program, call 561-955-4600 or visit

About Boca Raton Regional Hospital
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at

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