PinnacleHealth Surgeons Completed World’s First Published Robotic Assisted Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery

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With the innovative da Vinci Si Surgical System surgeons performed successful surgery.

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Overall, patients will experience less blood loss, less pain and a shorter recovery time and still have a great outcome

PinnacleHealth surgeons performed a breakthrough procedure utilizing robots to assist in an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion surgery last week. Surgeons used the da Vinci Si Surgical System which offers a revolutionary approach to complex surgeries. The innovative robotic spine surgery that was performed was able to reduce the patient’s incision size, hospital time and blood loss.

“Instead of approaching the spine through a relatively large abdominal incision, we were able to use the da Vinci robot to expose the spine and then use its better imaging capabilities to replace the disk,” said general surgeon, DO, Luciano DiMarco. “We have extensive experience in performing this procedure laparoscopically, but we wanted the da Vinci robot to take us one step further. We made history today.”

The 52- year- old patient, Victoria “Vicki” Siekerman of Carlisle, PA went home the day after surgery, 48- hours less than a traditional surgery and was moving easily post- operatively. The surgical procedure had no complications and Siekerman left with modest sized incisions.

“Overall, patients will experience less blood loss, less pain and a shorter recovery time and still have a great outcome,” said Dr. Beutler.

The da Vinci Si Surgical System provides surgeons with multi- angle views, something that standard laparoscopic and open techniques don’t allow.

In an anterior fusion surgery, the anterior lumbar spine is stabilized through a procedure where bones are fused together permanently either with a bone graft or an implantable cage.

Dr. DiMarco, William Beutler, MD, neurosurgeon, and Walter Peppelman, DO, orthopedic and spine surgeon, worked together with the da Vinci Si Surgical System to perform the spinal fusion surgery. DiMarco used the da Vinci robot to expose the spine, safely moving the bowels and blood vessels, so that Drs. Beutler and Peppelman could replace Siekerman’s diseased disk with an implant.

Since 2006, PinnacleHealth’s surgeons have used the da Vinci Robotic System for more than 1,300 surgeries. PinnacleHealth’s Spine Institute, in Harrisburg, PA performs more than 1,600 inpatient spine procedures each year and offers a full range of services, from diagnostic testing to surgery, to rehabilitation following surgery.

Surgeons at PinnacleHealth use the da Vinci System for a variety of minimally invasive robotic surgical procedures, including cardiac, general, gynecological and urological.

About PinnacleHealth System:
PinnacleHealth is a pioneer not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to providing and improving the health and quality of life for the people of Central Pennsylvania since 1873. A proven leader in medical innovation, PinnacleHealth offers a wide range of services from primary care to the most complex surgeries and Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. Voted as one of the “Best Places to Work” by employees as well as “Simply the Best Hospital” by Harrisburg Magazine readers for six consecutive years, PinnacleHealth remains as committed to its workforce as they are to the community. For more information about PinnacleHealth, call the contact center at (717) 231-8900 or visit

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Kelly McCall
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