Surgical Technology Leads to Improved Outcomes for Patients

At United Regional, our physicians are always eager to use the newest technology, but are mindful of the necessity of making sure that these techniques are solidly evidence-based

For an otolaryngologist, tumors in the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils of patients can be a technical challenge to reach. In the past, a traditional surgical approach would require a large neck incision and cutting of the bottom jaw. These types of lengthy surgeries would often require long hospital stays, extensive rehabilitation, and may result in difficulty in swallowing and speaking.

Advances in surgical equipment now available at United Regional have made it possible to reach these tumors through the mouth by using robotic technology and minimally invasive techniques. The new surgical approach allows for a guided endoscope to provide high resolution 3D images of the back of the mouth and throat, an area that is difficult to reach with conventional tools. With two robotically-guided instruments that act as a surgeon’s hands, surgeons have full control to dissect tumors from surrounding tissue safely.

Studies show that the outcome of transoral robotic surgery (TORS) – including TORS tonsillectomy, TORS base of tongue resection and TORS partial pharyngectomy – result in swallowing and speech function that is as good or better than other surgical methods, but without invasive scars. Other benefits when treating oropharynx cancers with TORS include:

  •  For some early stage cancers, the final pathology evaluation may demonstrate that there is no need for extra treatments since the TORS provides a high chance of fully treating the cancer.
  •  For other cancer stages, extra treatment may only involve radiation therapy and may not need the addition of chemotherapy with the radiotherapy
  •  The doses of radiation that are currently recommended are lower than if the cancer was treated non-surgically and offer a lower risk of dysphagia and hoarseness.

United Regional is dedicated to achieving our passion, to deliver excellence in health care for the communities we serve. It is our privilege to offer this new and more effective therapy.

About United Regional
United Regional Health Care System is located in Wichita Falls, Texas and provides comprehensive medical care including inpatient and outpatient services, advanced diagnostics, surgical specialties and life-saving emergency care to a 9-county service area. It has the area’s only Level II Trauma Center and serves as the Primary Stroke Center for the region.