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Emma's story - Scoliosis surgery

This is the story of how a pioneering technology was used to treat scoliosis in Emma, aged 14. The RNOH Private Care in Stanmore, Britain’s leading specialist orthopaedic hospital, is the first centre to offer Robotic Assisted Spinal Surgery (RASS) utilising field-leading enabling technology that is transforming the operating theatre.


The RNOH is at the forefront of paediatric and adult spinal deformity surgery (scoliosis and kyphosis). Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine and the RNOH successfully treated HRH Princess Eugenie for this condition when she was 12 years old.

The RNOH aims to deliver the best patient and staff experience; our early adoption of enabling technologies will deliver an environment where our field-leading surgeons can continue to pioneer surgical techniques and build great teams to deliver excellence in orthopaedic care.

The Spinal Surgical Unit at RNOH includes one of the largest Spinal Deformity Services in Europe. Referrals to this service come from throughout the UK and internationally, and the unit has a world-renowned reputation for its pioneering work.

Specialist spinal surgeons treat a wide variety of patients with very complex problems.

The Mazor X Stealth EditionTM (MXSE)

Is the latest generation of robotic guidance platforms that assist surgeons with sophisticated real-time 3D imaging, advanced anatomy recognition and enhanced navigation that will increase patient safety and surgical precision.

RNOH will also become the first Reference Centre within Europe to train visiting surgical teams from around the globe in partnership with Medtronic Ltd, the manufacturer of the MXSE. The MXSE can be used for both open and minimally invasive procedures and is seen as an extension of the surgeon’s skills; supporting the surgeon throughout the procedure.

The technology will be used in both paediatric and adult spinal surgical cases across a range of pathologies including spinal deformity, degenerative spinal disease, traumatic fracture fixation and in the management of spinal cancers. Robotic-Assisted Spinal Surgery will help surgeons to perform complex spinal procedures in a more minimally invasive way and may, as a result, potentially reduce the overall time patients have to stay in hospital. Owing to the increased accuracy of implant placement, it is expected that we will also see a reduction in the rate of revision spinal surgeries. Enabling technologies in healthcare have been gaining significant traction due to improved safety profile and benefits for patients. The RNOH Spinal Surgical Unit Consultants have collectively committed to this strategic direction.

Techniques for Robotic Assisted Spinal Surgery have been in use for some time and there is good evidence and safety data to support this. RNOH is the first centre in Europe to use the Mazor X robotic system in conjunction with ‘Stealth Edition’ navigation technology.

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Meet Mr Leong

Julian Leong is a Consultant Spinal Surgeon and the Surgical Tutor at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, his practice involves all aspects of spinal problems with children and adults.

Julian Leong is an Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at UCL, and his research interest is in Surgical Technology and Surgical Skills Training and Assessment. He completed his PhD thesis in 'Hand-eye coordination in Surgery' at Imperial College London. (Supervisors: Prof Ara Darzi, Prof Guang-Zhong Yang, and Prof Roger Emery)

He speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Mr Julian Leong is a Consultant Spinal Surgeon

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Overseas: +44 20 8909 5114
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Our Private Care Office is open
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

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