Transoral Technique

Robotic Surgery Through Mouth Safe for Removing Throat Tumors

Enver OzerRobotic surgery through the mouth is a safe and effective way to remove tumors of the throat and voice box, according to a study by head and neck cancer surgeons at the OSUCCC – James.

The researchers say this is the first report in the world literature to illustrate the safety and efficacy of transoral robotic surgery for supraglottic laryngectomy.

The preliminary study, which examined the outcomes of 13 head and neck cancer patients with tumors in the supraglottic region of the throat, found that robot-assisted surgery to remove these tumors through the mouth took about 25 minutes on average. The study also found that blood loss was minimal – a little more than three teaspoons, or 15.4 milliliters, on average, per patient. No surgical complications were encountered, and 11 of the 13 patients could accept an oral diet within 24 hours.

If, on the other hand, these tumors are removed via open surgery on the neck, the operation can take about four hours, require seven to 10 days of hospitalization and involve a tracheostomy tube and a stomach tube, the researchers say.

“The transoral robotic technique means shorter surgery, less time under anesthesia, a lower risk of complications and shorter hospital stays for these patients,” says first author Enver Ozer, MD, clinical associate professor of Otolaryngology at Ohio State.

“It also means no external surgical incisions for the patient and better 3-D visualization of the tumor for the surgeon,” says Ozer, a head and neck surgeon who specializes in robot-assisted techniques.

The cases examined in this study were part of a larger prospective study of 126 patients undergoing transoral robotic surgery between 2008 and 2011.

Published in the journal Head and Neck.

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