Back on the Dance Floor

91-year-old patient celebrates with DO who helped her dance again

Neurosurgeon Sabino D’Agostino, DO, dances beside the patient he helped to move again after new minimally invasive robotic surgery.


At a youthful 91 years old, Julia Tourtellotte shows no signs of slowing down.

In fact, the energetic dance instructor is moving better and faster than ever before. Not long ago, she’d complained of pain in her right leg, pain that was keeping her from dancing. But a minimally invasive robotic spine surgery, performed by Sabino D’Agostino, DO, a neurosurgeon in Charleston, South Carolina, made all the difference, according to CBS News and the Summerville Journal Scene.

Dr. D’Agostino, inspired by Tourtellotte’s passion for dance, made two promises: 1) to help her dance again and 2) to dance alongside her after her surgery.

Getting back on the dance floor

Trident Medical Center was the first facility in the state to receive a robot for spine surgeries. Dr. D’Agostino was the first physician to perform a surgery with the new robot, which allows for more precision and accuracy along with increased patient safety in the operating room.

The surgery also streamlines the surgical process, reduces blood loss and muscle damage, and results in faster recovery times, all benefits for elderly patients. Because of Tourtellotte’s overall good health, she was an ideal candidate for the surgery.

After receiving medical clearance to return to the dance floor, Tourtellotte returned to Trident Medical Center to dance with the physician who helped her move again. Together, along with a handful of fellow dancers, Dr. D’Agostino and Tourtellotte celebrated.

Dr. D’Agostino admits that, during the dance, he had to try to keep up with the 91-year-old dancer. “I think he did good,” Tourtellotte told CBS News. “We had fun.”

For further reading:

Using 3D motion technology to prevent injuries in professional dancers

A hip-hop doc who rocks, as doctor and dance instructor 

One comment

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy