Robotics in neurosurgery: Current prevalence and future directions

Rohin Singh, Kendra Wang, Muhammad Bilal Qureshi, India C. Rangel, Nolan J. Brown, Shane Shahrestani, Oren N. Gottfried, Naresh P. Patel, Mohamad Bydon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The first instance of a robotic-assisted surgery occurred in neurosurgery; however, it is now more common in other fields such as urology and gynecology. This study aims to characterize the prevalence of robotic surgery among current neurosurgery programs as well as identify trends in clinical trials pertaining to robotic neurosurgery. Methods: Each institution’s website was analyzed for the mention of a robotic neurosurgery program and procedures. The future potential of robotics in neurosurgery was assessed by searching for current clinical trials pertaining to neurosurgical robotic surgery. Results: Of the top 100 programs, 30 offer robotic cranial and 40 offer robotic spinal surgery. No significant differences were observed with robotic surgical offerings between geographic regions in the US. Larger programs (faculty size 16 or over) had 20 of the 30 robotic cranial programs (66.6%), whereas 21 of the 40 robotic spinal programs (52.5%) were at larger programs. An initial search of clinical trials revealed 223 studies, of which only 13 pertained to robotic neurosurgery. Spinal fixation was the most common intervention (six studies), followed by Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS, two studies), Cochlear implants (two studies), laser ablation (LITT, one study), and endovascular embolization (one study). Most studies had industry sponsors (9/13 studies), while only five studies had hospital sponsors. Conclusion: Robotic neurosurgery is still in its infancy with less than half of the top programs offering robotic procedures. Future directions for robotics in neurosurgery appear to be focused on increased automation of stereotactic procedures such as DBS and LITT and robot-assisted spinal surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number373
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - 2022


  • Robotic assisted
  • Robotic cranial
  • Robotic neurosurgery
  • Robotic spinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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