PENN researchers use robotic surgery

(Philadelphia, PA) For patients with cancer of the mouth and throat, surgery is a frequent course of treatment, often leading to speech and swallowing dysfunction and external scarring. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Department of Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, have completed two studies the most comprehensive and largest to date that demonstrate the effective use of the daVinci Surgical Robotic System to perform Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS) which greatly reduces surgical trauma for patients. Their initial findings will be presented Monday, May 16th at 11:45 a.m., at the combined annual meetings of otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) experts the Triologic Society, May 13th through16th, in Boca Raton, Florida.

PENN physicians anticipate that the application of the daVinci System to treat mouth and throat cancers will allow for complete tumor removal while helping to preserve voice and swallowing function. "The daVinci Robot has been FDA-approved and successfully integrated into cardiac and urologic surgery. Patients are reaping the benefits with decreased bleeding, less pain, and are able to return to work sooner," said otorhinolaryngologist Neil G. Hockstein, MD, who served as lead investigator for both studies. "I saw the potential to apply the attributes of surgical robotics to the treatment of head and neck cancer and we've successfully devised novel approaches to introduce the robotic arms through the mouth into the throat and voice box."

For head and neck tumors, treatments often involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In many cases, surgery offers the greatest chance of cure. Conventional cancer surgery can consist of an almost ear-to-ear incision across the throat or splitting the jaw in half. This can result in speech and swallowing deficits for patients. "The research we've done to date suggests that TORS has great potential to improve the wa

Contact: Olivia Fermano
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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