Our surgeons will use minimally invasive procedures to treat your cancer

Surgery for Head & Neck Cancers

Surgery is the primary treatment for many head and neck cancers, and effective cancer control is dependent on whether your cancer can be completely removed.  

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The type of surgery you will need will depend on your specific cancer type, its location, stage and other factors.

Roswell Park’s elite surgical team has high-volume experience in the complex procedures necessary for head & neck cancers and offer many advanced techniques and approaches unavailable at other centers. We work in tandem with our plastic & reconstructive surgeons for optimal cosmetic outcome. Highlights of our services include:

Transoral surgery

Transoral procedures are less-invasive, advanced approaches for removing certain types of head and neck tumors from the tonsils, throat and base of tongue. The surgeon works through the mouth rather than cutting into the neck, which helps to preserve speech and swallowing function. Compared with traditional surgery, it has been shown to speed recovery and is associated with less pain and may eliminate or reduce the need for subsequent radiation therapy.

  • Transoral Robotic Surgery is performed with the surgeon seated at an operating room console where the surgeon controls three long, slim robotic arms capable of reaching deep into the mouth and throat. A camera inserted by one of the arms sends magnified, three-dimensional images to the console, giving the surgeon a larger-than-life view of the tumor and surrounding area, for greater precision.
  • Transoral Laser Microsurgery is used mostly for early-stage cancers of the larynx, but it can also be used for some pharyngeal and oropharyngeal cancers. Laser technology gives the surgeon a greater level of precision to increase the chances of complete tumor removal while reducing the chances of affecting healthy tissue nearby.

One-Day Jaw Reconstruction

Tumors that require removal of the upper or lower jaw used to leave patients with significant disfigurement and inability to eat normally. Reconstruction of the jaw, skin and dental work took several surgeries and up to 2 years to complete.  

Today, Roswell Park’s team of head & neck surgeons, plastic & reconstructive surgeons and a prosthodontist work together to perform this revolutionary procedure that removes large tumors of the jaw, reconstructs a new jaw from a lower leg bone, and inserts dental implants and new teeth —in one operation.

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Skull base surgery

Tumors located at the base of the skull (underside of the brain, top of the spinal column) such as pituitary tumors require highly specialized surgery because these tumor locations are difficult to reach and the body’s most critical nerves, blood vessels and spinal cord all pass through this small, crowded area at the base of the skull.

Roswell Park’s surgeons employ the latest surgical techniques to reach these sensitive areas in the least invasive way possible. Skull base surgical options we offer include:

  • Endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery. The surgical team includes both a neurosurgeon and a head and neck surgeon working together. The head and neck surgeon inserts an endoscope — a thin, lighted telescope with a camera on one end — through one of the patient’s nostrils, and the camera sends images from inside the head to a screen in the operating room. Surgical instruments are inserted through the other nostril so the head and neck surgeon can create a channel from the nose and sinuses to the skull base to access the tumor.
  • Open skull base surgery. To gain access to the tumor site, in essence head & neck surgeons create access to remote locations in the skull to allow neurosurgeons to reach the tumor and then close when the excision is complete. The team’s plastic & reconstructive surgeons then complete the surgery to provide the best postsurgical appearance. This creates a wide surgical field for greater precision and offers the benefit of immediate reconstruction.

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