Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery

Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS) is a technique used to remove certain types of head and neck cancer using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Patients who have oropharyngeal (throat, tonsil, base of tongue) and supraglottic (voice box) cancers may be eligible for TORS.

How it Works

During TORS, the surgeon sits at a console separate from the patient while an assistant at the head of the bed helps with retraction and suctioning. A device is placed in the patient's mouth to keep it open and three robotic arms are placed through the mouth and into the throat. The middle arm is a special camera that gives the surgeon a three-dimensional view of the throat. The other two arms contain small surgical instruments that instantly and precisely respond to the surgeon’s own hand movements.

Who is Eligible

Patients with tumors or cancers in certain areas of the throat and voice box may be candidates for TORS. These areas include:

  • Tonsil
  • Base-of-tongue
  • Parapharyngeal space tumors
  • Supraglottic Larynx

What's the Advantage of TORS?

Traditional surgery involves neck incisions and the possibility of splitting the jaw in half. TORS avoids this by removing cancer through the mouth. The patient may still require an open procedure in conjunction with TORS to remove lymph nodes in the neck. Compared to traditional treatment, TORS offers better long-term, swallowing outcomes. In addition, certain patients may avoid chemotherapy and/or radiation after the surgery.