Geisinger Surgeon Completes 200th Robotic Assisted Pediatric Spine Surgery

As of May 2021, Geisinger’s Dr. Meagan Fernandez has performed more than 200 robotic-assisted pediatric spine surgeries at the Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Musculoskeletal Institute. Geisinger’s Musculoskeletal Institute is the only pediatric hospital in Pennsylvania using robotic assisted technology for pediatric spine surgery.    

Robotic-assisted spine surgery has already been used in adults. But those surgeries are largely focused in the lumbar spine, where the robot guides the surgeon in placing a small number of screws. In pediatric surgeries, the surgeon covers a much larger area with significantly more screws.

Dr. Fernandez specializes in treating pediatric sports injuries, ACL reconstruction and meniscus injuries, fractures and traumatic injuries, and scoliosis. For her pediatric spine surgeries, she uses the Medtronic Renaissance™ system, the first robotic spine assist technology used in Pennsylvania to treat pediatric patients with scoliosis that requires surgery. Renaissance™ is designed to improve the safety and accuracy of implant placement in spine surgery.  

A certified child life specialist accompanies Dr. Fernandez during clinic to help young patients cope using play therapy and activities. The child life team also helps children understand why they are getting certain tests and can answer questions about the equipment.

Dr. Fernandez joined Geisinger in 2011 and is a 2005 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed an orthopedic surgery residency in 2010 at UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg and a pediatric orthopedic surgery fellowship in 2011 at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Scottish Rite Hospital in Atlanta.

Dr. Fernandez is a member of professional organizations including the Scoliosis Research Society, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North American, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.