News release: QEII Health Sciences Centre first location in Canada to use Medtronic surgical robot for spinal surgeries

Live surgery shot showing the first spinal robotic patient procedure within a QEII operating room

Photo from Canada's first spinal robotic patient surgery performed at the QEII. Credit: Nova Scotia Health

Nova Scotia Health has now completed the first spinal robotic surgery in Canada using Medtronic’s MAZOR™ X Stealth Edition. The innovative robotic arm is controlled by a surgeon during spinal surgeries and offers unparalleled accuracy and consistency leading to improved patient outcomes.

The first surgery using the robot was successfully completed at the end of July at Nova Scotia Health’s QEII Health Sciences Centre.

The $3-million project will be fully funded by QEII Foundation donors, with the QEII Foundation actively raising funds to support the robot’s continued use. Additionally, the QEII Foundation, Medtronic, and Mitacs will be supporting a collaborative research program.

This leading-edge technology will transform the future of spinal surgeries in Nova Scotia and will support the recruitment and retention of clinical and research expertise at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub and Perioperative Services team have collaborated with neurosurgeon, Dr. Sean Christie, the QEII Foundation, and Medtronic, an industry partner and one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, to become the first centre in Canada to use this technology, which holds the potential to improve health outcomes for Nova Scotians.

Through a collaborative research program, Nova Scotia Health will assess the feasibility, efficacy, and safety of robotic in spinal surgery in Canada and will explore the patient care continuum, including detailed surgical planning and early hospital discharge.


  • The MAZOR robotic guidance platform combines advanced surgical planning software with 15 years of Mazor robotic guidance and 25 years of Stealth™ Navigation experience allowing more efficient and precise pre-operative planning, robotic guidance, and surgical navigational.
  • Robot-assisted surgery enables movements so tiny and precise that they would not be possible with the human hand alone. This can result in many benefits for patients and our health care system including less pain, less damage to healthy tissues and structures, shorter recovery times and fewer complications.
  • The QEII Foundation is actively raising funds to support the $3-million fundraising goal to fully fund Canada’s first spinal robot equipment and contribute to the related research and evaluation. This $3-million project is part of the QEII Foundation’s $100-million We Are campaign to transform health care through the QEII Health Sciences Centre.
  • Nova Scotia Health and Medtronic have a longstanding partnership which includes many technological firsts for our province:
    • First O-arm 3D Intra-op Imaging System in Canada – October 2007
    • First StealthStaion S8 Navigation System in Canada– July 2018
    • First Stealth Autoguide Cranial Robot System in Canada– July 2020
  • The QEII Health Sciences Centre became the first location in Atlantic Canada with a surgical robot in 2019 – when robotics technology transformed urological and gynecological cancer surgeries. The $8.1-million initiative was entirely funded by QEII Foundation donors and has since expanded to include ear, nose and throat (ENT) cancer surgeries.
  • In 2020, Nova Scotia Health’s QEII Health Sciences Centre Division of Neurosurgery also became the first in Canada to use the Medtronic Stealth™ Autoguide Cranial Robot for brain surgery.
  • In 2022, Nova Scotia Health’s QEII Health Sciences Centre Division of Orthopedic Surgery became the second in Canada to use robotic technology for orthopedic surgery. This technology and its accompanying research is also funded by QEII Foundation donors.
  • This latest expansion of surgical robotics to now include spinal surgery will help further establish the QEII Health Science Centre’s reputation for innovation and excellence, establishing it as a Canadian leader in innovative surgical robotics, research and care.
  • The goal of the collaborative research program at Nova Scotia Health will be to position the QEII Health Sciences Centre as a leader in surgical robotics and provide additional evidence for the research community.
  • The Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub is transforming health care delivery and improving the health of all Nova Scotians by leading initiatives that deliver high-impact health care solutions and developing strategic partnerships with clinical champions, industry, healthcare foundations, government and academic partners.


In Nova Scotia we embrace new technology that will help patients receive the care they need, closer to home. This technology is another example of how we continue to be a leader in healthcare innovation. I want to thank all of the partners for their dedication to patients and for their hard work to make Nova Scotia the first province to offer robotic spinal surgery.

  • Minister Michelle Thompson
    Nova Scotia Department of Health & Wellness

“Bringing this technology to the QEII Health Sciences Centre, before anywhere else in the country, is giving Nova Scotians the opportunity to receive the most innovative surgical care right here at home. Nova Scotia Health is leading the nation in surgical robotics and the addition of the Mazor robot is just the beginning of what we envision for this program. We are so fortunate to have the support of industry partners, like Medtronic, and philanthropic partners, like the QEII Foundation, who are essential in the optimization of transforming health and health care for Nova Scotians.”

  • Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy
    Vice President, Research, Innovation and Discovery, and Chief Nurse Executive
    Nova Scotia Health

“This is a very exciting day for patients in Nova Scotia. The QEII Foundation is delighted to be a partner in robotics excellence at the QEII.  With the support from donors, we have bold aspirations to fully fund this spinal robotics technology and collaborative research. Philanthropy is the catalyst that will allow this surgical advancement to be introduced at the QEII, a first in Canada. Donors are helping make healthcare history and we look forward to working with the community to make this happen.”   

  • Susan Mullin
    President and CEO, QEII Foundation

“Thanks to the dedication of Medtronic, the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub, and the QEII Foundation, we have the incredible honor of being the first hospital in Canada to utilize this game-changing technology. The generosity of the QEII Foundation and their donors has enabled me and other spine surgeons to have access to state-of-the-art equipment that will help to better the lives of Nova Scotians. This project has been a great example of the power of philanthropy and collaboration and I look forward to many successful outcomes with this growing partnership.”

  • Dr. Sean Christie, MD, FRCSC
    Neurosurgeon, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Nova Scotia Health
    Professor, Vice Chair and Director of Research, Division of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University

“It is incredibly exciting for Medtronic to bring robotic spinal surgery to life in partnership with pioneering surgeons like Dr. Sean Christie along with Nova Scotia Health. We congratulate Dr. Christie and his team at QEII in Halifax on successfully completing the inaugural spinal robotic procedure in Canada.”

  • Peter Tomashewski
    Sr Business Director, Neuro & Spin Surgery, Medtronic Canada



Nova Scotia Health Media; 1-844-483-3344

Collage of two images; one featuring a surgical team wearing scrubs in the operating room, and the other features a neurosurgeon standing over a surgical robot console
QEII surgical staff pictured during a OR training session with the MAZOR™ X Stealth Edition. Photo credit: Uncharted Media