Transoral robotic surgery is a procedure to remove oral cancers in which a surgeon uses a sophisticated, computer-enhanced system to guide the surgical tools.

Transoral robotic surgery gives the surgeon 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.

When compared with more-traditional procedures, transoral robotic surgery for oral cancer tends to result in a quicker recovery and fewer complications.

About transoral robotic surgery

During transoral robotic surgery, your surgeon sits at a remote control console a short distance from you and the operating table and precisely controls the motion of the surgical instruments using two hand-and-finger control devices. The console displays a magnified, 3-D view of the surgical area that enables the surgeon to visualize the procedure in much greater detail than in traditional laparoscopic surgery.

Transoral robotic surgery may be used to treat:

  • Mouth cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Tongue cancer
  • Tonsil cancer

Compared with other operations, transoral robotic surgery typically offers excellent cure rates, shorter hospital stays and fewer complications.

  • Collaboration. At Mayo Clinic, people considering transoral robotic surgery are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of experts that collaborate on care. Your team may be led by an ear, nose and throat specialist (otorhinolaryngologist) and include radiologists, pathologists, oncologists and radiation oncologists.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic surgeons have used transoral techniques to remove cancer for decades. This depth of experience helps doctors identify the surgical approach that's exactly right for you.
  • Expertise. Transoral robotic surgery is a complex procedure that requires highly skilled and extensively trained surgeons. Mayo Clinic doctors are specially trained in robotic surgery procedures in order to provide you with the best care.
  • A full range of treatment options to consider. Mayo Clinic doctors will work with you to design a treatment plan that meets your needs as a whole person. You and your doctor can consider a wide variety of treatments.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

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Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

At Mayo Clinic, ear, nose and throat specialists (otorhinolaryngologists) collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to provide expert, whole-person care for people considering transoral robotic surgery for oral cancer.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic, ear, nose and throat specialists (otorhinolaryngologists) collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to provide expert, whole-person care for people considering transoral robotic surgery for oral cancer.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic, ear, nose and throat specialists (otorhinolaryngologists) collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to provide expert, whole-person care for people considering transoral robotic surgery for oral cancer.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors and scientists are studying ways to improve and expand the use of robotic transoral surgery for people with cancer.

Cancer research is conducted in coordination with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives funding from the National Cancer Institute and is designated as a comprehensive cancer center — recognition for an institution's scientific excellence and multidisciplinary resources focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on transoral robotic surgery for oral cancer on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Jul. 08, 2014