Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) is a procedure to remove oral cancers in which a surgeon uses a sophisticated, computer-enhanced system to guide the surgical tools using an enhanced view of the cancer and surrounding tissue. Using a robotic system to guide the surgical tools allows for more-precise movements in tiny spaces and the capability to work around corners.
New robotics systems are able to use sophisticated, guided endoscopes that can provide the surgeon with high resolution three-dimensional image of the back of the mouth and throat - the same areas previously very difficult area to both reach and visualize without these tools. The system then allows for two robotically-guided instruments to act as a surgeon’s arms, helping to make it much easier to operate in these difficult-to-reach areas.
Traditionally, these types of surgeries require large incisions through the neck and sometimes opening the bottom jaw, resulting in long hospital stays, painful rehabilitation and complications that can include difficulty swallowing, decrease or loss of speaking ability and sleep apnea.
Surgical centers like Presbyterian/St Luke's in Denver, Colorado are a leading the way in robotic surgery techniques that help eliminate some of the challenges and complications from invasive surgeries, particularly in laryngeal surgery.
PSL's Robotics program, led in laryngeal surgery by Dr. David A Opperman, is home to the latest in transoral robotic surgery technology for ear, nose and throat head and neck surgery. The program's Medrobotics Flex(R) System robot is the first system from Medrobotics West of the Mississippi and is the first training center for Medrobotics for laryngeal robotic surgery in the world.
"The Flex® Robotic System gives physicians the ability to access anatomical locations that were previously difficult or impossible to reach minimally invasively. And because it is affordable and efficient, the Flex® Robotic System allows hospitals to expand the patient population that they serve and improve the productivity of their facilities."
Robotic surgery applied in the field of otolaryngology allows for surgeons to see better, which means they can be more precise and ultimately, produce better outcomes for patients in treatment for common head and neck pathology, including benign and malignant disease, treatment for sleep apnea, and common laryngeal procedures that include:
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) for sleep apnea
Tongue-base resection for sleep apnea
Tongue-base tumor resections
Parapharyngeal space tumor resections
Subglottic stenosis excision and repair
Treatment of laryngeal papillomas