The Use of Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) to Increase the Quality of Life of Patients
The incidence of viral-related cancers of the throat has dramatically increased. Historically, chemoradiotherapy has been used to treat these cancers. However, there are side effects to treatment We have completed a study examining the use of transoral robotic surgery (TORS) to manage difficult-to-access tumors that normally require large surgeries. TORS involves the use of a surgical robot to remove throat tumors and is minimally invasive. This surgery which improves visualization by the surgeon and enhances surgical precision has been found to result in shorter recovery time. We examined swallow, speech and tongue function outcomes and found that in our cohort of subjects, patients were able to eat within 24 hours post-surgery, had measurably better swallow functioning, normal tongue range of motion, and improved patient-rated quality of life. We are continuing to follow these patients further out from surgery to examine the long-term effects of TORS on cure, function, and quality of life. We are also investigating whether TORS can be used to remove tumors elsewhere in the head and neck.