Skip to main content

LHSC performs a Canadian first in robot-assisted direct lateral spine surgery


Spine surgery may never be the same for people with chronic back pain and other physical ailments.

Earlier this year, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) became the first hospital in Canada to perform robot assisted direct lateral spine surgery.

The patient was London, Ont. resident Dave Meyn, now 57 years old.

He’s currently walking without pain, but it wasn’t that way not so long ago.

“I’d have occasion where I would even fall down, couldn’t feel my leg,” explained Meyn. “It eventually came to the point where I had to come into ER and get some immediate attention,” he said.

In February 2023, his chronic back pain led to sciatica in his right leg and extreme pain in his lower back.

About a year later, in February 2024, he received the robot-assisted surgery.

He was home within a couple days.

Dr. Victor Yang, neurosurgeon at LHSC speaks with patient Dave Men on April 25, 2024. Meyn received robot-assisted direct lateral spine surgery in February 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

“I basically went from not being able to walk not very far at all to having my life back,” he said.

There have only been six of these surgeries performed at LHSC so far, and Meyn’s was the first.

Not just the first at the southern Ontario hospital, but the first in Canada.

The surgery utilizes the Mazor X spinal robot. Dr. Victor Yang, neurosurgeon at LHSC performed the Canadian-first surgery.

He explained that it eliminates the need for a second surgery.

“Dave is not the first patient to receive the surgery in our hospital but he’s the first person to receive the surgery by doing it minimally invasively and going at it from two different directions without waking him up and without staging the surgery over two days, and without flipping him on the operating table. All of that reduces the time and the suffering he may have,” said Dr. Yang.

According to LHSC, chronic back pain affects nearly eight million Canadians, and it can be debilitating.

As for Meyn, he’s in recovery for a few more months, but he no longer takes simple tasks for granted.

“From putting on your socks to leaning over the sink to brush your teeth,” he said. Top Stories

Stay Connected