OU Health Expands Array of Services With Robotic Spine Surgery

Surgeons Looking at Images During Spine SurgeryOKLAHOMA CITY -- OU Medical Center at OU Health has become the first hospital in Oklahoma to offer robotic spine surgery. The advanced technology allows for the precise placement of spinal hardware during complex spinal operations.

“The capacity to perform robotic spine surgery is another advance in the level of care available to Oklahomans and patients in the surrounding region,” explained Ian Dunn, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Dunn was instrumental in bringing this technology to OU Health. “This technology improves safety in the operating room and enhances patient outcomes.”

In addition to the newly available technology, Neurosurgeon Zachary Smith, M.D., recently joined the faculty. Smith has specific experience in minimally invasive spine surgery.

Smith completed fellowship training in minimally invasive techniques and complex spine surgery at McGaw Medical Center-Northwestern University, Chicago, and completed his residency at the University of California-Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, where he also earned his medical degree.

Smith is a strong advocate for robotics technology. “Robotics bring greater precision to surgery,” he said. “This technology makes it possible to plan procedures in minute detail, well before stepping into the operating room. In this way, we reduce risks related to the procedure and ensure high-quality care. We look forward to bringing this technology to our comprehensive neurosurgical and orthopedic spine team.”  

In addition to greater precision, robotic-assisted surgeries are minimally invasive, meaning shorter recovery time for patients. “The goal of every surgery is to return people to the places and activities they care about,” said Smith. 

Robotic assistance in spine surgery complements the well-established use of robotics at OU Health in specialties including, but not limited to urology, pulmonology, oncology and general surgery.


OU Health is the No. 1 ranked hospital system in Oklahoma, and its oncology program at Stephenson Cancer Center and OU Medical Center ranked in the Top 50 in the nation, in the 2019-2020 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. OU Medical Center is the only comprehensive academic hospital in the state, offering the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region. Serving as Oklahoma’s only Level I trauma center, the hospital is a multi-state resource for every aspect of injury prevention and treatment. OU Medical Center offers the highest level of care for stroke patients, providing unmatched neurology and neurosurgery services, and is home to Oklahoma’s most experienced organ transplant team. Working alongside Stephenson Cancer Center, the hospital has the state’s only comprehensive bone marrow transplant center and more radiation therapy options than any hospital in Oklahoma. From advanced cardiac care to orthopedic services and more, OU Medical Center patients benefit from healthcare based on the latest research and advances in medicine. For more information, visit oumedicine.com/oumedicalcenter.


OU Health — along with its academic partner, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center — is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. With 11,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Health is home to Oklahoma’s largest physician network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Health serves Oklahoma and the region with the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute-Designated Stephenson Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. OU Health is the No. 1 ranked hospital system in Oklahoma, and its oncology program at Stephenson Cancer Center and OU Medical Center ranked in the Top 50 in the nation, in the 2019-2020 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. OU Health was also ranked by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in four specialties: Ophthalmology in partnership with Dean McGee Eye Institute, Colon Surgery, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. OU Health’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit oumedicine.com.