With cancers of the head and neck on the rise, doctors are looking for improved ways to remove and treat the cancer. By using robotic, minimally invasive surgical techniques first developed for other parts of the body, they are doing just that.
Research comparing the outcomes of robot-assisted transoral surgery with those of traditional surgery found that transoral surgery patients:
Robot-assisted transoral surgery 2.3 days
Open surgery 7-10 days
Traditional surgery for cancers in the mouth, throat and neck requires large incisions and can affect the ability to speak and swallow. It has a long recovery time and leaves significant scarring.
Using surgical robots that have tiny, precisely controlled surgical tools, doctors can now perform transoral (through the mouth) surgery on the tongue, tonsils and even the throat and vocal cords while leaving surrounding tissue undisturbed.
98% of robot-assisted transoral surgery results in complete removal of the cancerous cells.
Robot-assisted transoral surgery: Often no radiation or chemotherapy needed
Open surgery: Typically 7 weeks of chemotherapy/radiation before surgery
Sources: mayoclinic.org; cancer.org; cancer.gov; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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