Tiny Robot Helps Abrazo Arrowhead Spinal Surgery Patient Regain Active Life

Moving Health Forward
After eight decades of meeting and beating life’s challenges – including polio – realtor Bev Wilson was not about to accept that nothing could be done about the back pain crippling her lifestyle.

“It had been coming on for years and reached the point it was constant, like a bad headache,” Bev said. “It became excruciating if I bent down or turned my body to do the most mundane things.”

Bev learned she had degenerative vertebral collapse, severe disc degeneration, post-laminectomy syndrome and scoliosis. Her condition left her unable to sit or stand for extended periods. “I couldn’t even play cards with friends,” she said. 

Determined not to let her condition defeat her, Bev reached out to Dr. Harvinder Bedi, a board-certified spine surgeon at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus, the first hospital in Arizona to use the Renaissance Guidance System, a smartphone-sized robotic-guided 3D technology. 

Using minimally invasive techniques, along with robotic assistance, Dr. Bedi said he performed Bev’s surgery with minimal blood loss, no ICU stay, and a shorter hospitalization than would have been required with traditional surgery.

Bev had the surgery in December 2016, followed by a month of rehab and six weeks of physical therapy. She also kept active on a stationary bike, doing all of her prescribed exercises and more. Five months later, she was able to fly by herself to Washington state, “with no assistance, no wheelchair, no walker and no cane,” to visit family and attend her granddaughter’s wedding. Now, Bev is back to selling homes in Arizona and playing cards with friends. 

“Attitude is important for healing,” Bev said. “Age is no reason to lose hope.”