Head & Neck Surgery
When non-surgical treatments cannot ease your symptoms or treat your condition, doctors often recommend surgery to throat cancer patients. Throat cancer refers to a category of conditions including: tonsil cancer, cancer of the larynx (laryngeal cancer), cancer of the pharynx (pharyngeal cancer) and tongue cancer.
The size, stage and location of the tumor will determine the type of surgery that your doctor recommends. There are two main types of throat cancer surgery: open surgery and transoral surgery (through the mouth).
Open surgery to remove throat cancer requires your surgeon to make a long incision through the jaw and throat. Your surgeon may also need to break the jawbone to access the tumor. While open surgery allows your surgeon to see the inside of your throat and surrounding tissues, there are drawbacks for patients. It can cause disfigurement, difficulty eating, speaking and swallowing.1 Reconstructive or plastic surgery may be needed to rebuild the bones or tissues removed during surgery.
Transoral Laser Surgery
Transoral laser surgery is much less invasive than open surgery. Using a surgical camera and microscope passed through the mouth, the surgeon directs the laser to the tumor - avoiding facial disfigurement and a tracheostomy (incision in front of neck used as an airway).
While transoral surgery is minimally invasive, this surgical approach may not be appropriate for all patients. Talk to your doctor about which treatment or surgical option is best for you.
da Vinci® Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS)
da Vinci Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) allows your surgeon to operate through your mouth – avoiding a large incision through the jaw and throat. The da Vinci System features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and special wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. As a result, da Vinci enables your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.
State-of-the-art da Vinci uses the latest in surgical and robotics technologies and is beneficial for performing complex surgery. Your surgeon is 100% in control of the da Vinci System, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body. da Vinci – taking surgery beyond the limits of the human hand.
- Learn more: da Vinci TORS
- National Institutes of Health. Cancer – Throat or Larynx. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001042.htm
The da Vinci System is indicated for transoral otolaryngologic surgical procedures (i.e., use in removing tumors from the mouth, tonsils, tongue and throat through the mouth), but restricted to cancerous and non-cancerous tumors classified as T1 and T2 (i.e., early and mid stage cancers only). The da Vinci® System is not indicated for pediatric transoral otolaryngology surgical procedures. The safety and effectiveness of the da Vinci Surgical System has not been established in patients with poor mouth openings (< 1.5 cm), advanced tumors (e.g., invading the mandible, abutting the carotid artery, requiring bone resection, etc.). The da Vinci® System is not recommended for use in dental surgery (i.e. tooth extraction).
All surgery presents risk, including da Vinci® Surgery and other minimally invasive procedures. Serious complications may occur in any surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious or life-threatening complications which may require hospitalization include injury to tissues or organs, bleeding, infection or internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction or pain. Temporary pain or nerve injury has been linked to the inverted position often used during abdominal and pelvic surgery. Risks of surgery also include potential for equipment failure and human error. Risks specific to minimally invasive surgery may include: A long operation and time under anesthesia, conversion to another technique or the need for additional or larger incisions. If your surgeon needs to convert the procedure, it could mean a long operative time with additional time under anesthesia and increased complications. Temporary pain or discomfort may result from pneumoperitoneum, the presence of air or gas in the abdominal cavity used by surgeons in minimally invasive surgery. Research suggests that there could be an increased risk of incision-site hernia with single-incision surgery. Results, including cosmetic results, may vary. Patients who bleed easily, who have abnormal blood clotting, are pregnant or morbidly obese are typically not candidates for minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci® Surgery. For more complete information on surgical risks, safety, and indications for use, please refer to http://www.davincisurgery.com/safety/. Patients should talk to their doctors about their surgical experience and to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Other options may be available. Intuitive Surgical reviews clinical literature from the highest level of evidence available to provide benefit and risk information about use of the da Vinci Surgical System in specific representative procedures. We encourage patients and physicians to review all available information on surgical options and treatment in order to make an informed decision. Clinical studies are available through the National Library of Medicine at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.
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