Transoral robotic-assisted surgery (TORS) is available for some conditions of the head and neck, including select cancers.  During transoral procedures, a surgeon operates through the patient’s mouth instead of long incision through the throat and jaw, avoiding facial disfigurement and a tracheotomy. In the case of robotic-assisted transoral procedures, the surgeon has the benefit of 3-D visualization as the camera gets close to the surgical field. 

Conditions which are now being treated with transoral robotic-assisted surgery include:

  • Base of tongue and tonsil cancers
  • Laryngeal supraglottic cancer
  • Pharyngeal cancer
  • Select parapharyngeal/skull base tumors
  • Select sleep apnea patients when removal of base of tongue is needed.
  • Select thyroid goiter when it extends into the mediastinum

Robotic-assisted surgery allows surgeons at GW Hospital to offer procedures which were previously not possible or not optimally done transorally, such as surgery for base of tongue tumors, and parapharygeal tumors. The potential advantages associated with TORS include incisionless surgery, faster recovery, shorter hospital stay, and better functional preservation in terms of swallowing and voice, when compared to traditional open surgery. It also prevents the need for a tracheostomy in most cases.

GW Hospital also offers Transoral Laser Microlaryngeal Surgery (TLM) for select head and neck cancer patients.