AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018

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Penn Neurosurgeons and Otolaryngologists Perform First-in-World Robot-Assisted Spinal Surgery

Robotic approach assists with a three-part, two-day complex procedure for rare tumor removal

 

Noah Pernikoff is back to his life in New York City after becoming the first patient in the world to undergo a complex three-part, robotic-assisted surgery. The robotic arms made it possible for the multidisciplinary team at Penn to successfully remove a rare tumor from Noah’s neck, where the skull meets the spine. The ground breaking surgery was completed by a multi-surgeon team, led by Dr. Neil Malhotra, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in August 2017 over a span of two days and more than 20 hours.

Chordoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine. A chordoma tumor usually grows slowly and is often asymptomatic for years. In the case of 27-year-old Noah Pernikoff, a 2016 car accident revealed his surprising diagnosis.

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