Throat Cancer Center
The Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital is a leader in performing robotic surgery to treat throat cancer.
Sung Chung, M.D., and Rajeev Mehta, M.D., F.A.C.S., are among the first in the region to offer transoral robotic surgery (TORS) to treat throat cancer. TORS is often referred to as “incision-less” surgery since surgeons can access tumors through the mouth, using the slender operating arms of the da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical system, thus not requiring an open skin incision.
Silver Cross is part of an elite group of nationally recognized General Surgery Epicenters.
Physicians from all over the U.S. travel to Silver Cross Hospital to learn robotic and Single-Site® techniques from the surgical team.
Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. It has different names, depending on which part of the throat is affected; the different parts of the throat are called the oropharynx, the hypopharynx, the nasopharynx, and the larynx, or voice box.
Sites of Throat Cancer
Oral cavity, including the inner lip, tongue, floor of mouth, gingivae (gums) and hard palate (roof of mouth)
Nasopharynx, including the nasal cavities and tubes that connect the upper part of the throat
Oropharynx, including the soft palate, base of tongue and tonsils
Larynx, which mainly consists of the voice box and vocal cords
Trachea, also known as the windpipe
The main risk factors for throat cancer are using tobacco and heavy drinking. Certain types of throat cancer also have other risk factors. For example, having HPV is a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer.
Symptoms of throat cancer may include:
A sore throat that does not go away
A lump in the neck
Pain or ringing in the ears
To diagnose throat cancers, doctors may do a physical exam and history, imaging tests, and a biopsy. You may also need other tests, depending on the type of cancer. Treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Surgical Options for Throat Cancer
Tumors in the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils can be a challenge to reach and have traditionally been removed through surgeries requiring a large neck incision and cutting of the bottom jaw. These types of surgeries often require long hospital stays, extensive rehabilitation and may result in difficulty in swallowing and speaking.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Advances in surgical equipment have made it possible to reach these tumors through the mouth by using robotic technology and minimally invasive techniques. Transoral robotic-assisted surgery (TORS) is a minimally invasive option to open surgery using the
da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical system.
Thanks to its high-definition, 3-D camera, the da Vinci system enables surgeons to operate through the mouth with no external incisions or scars to the face. The revolutionary technology offers unparalleled views of the back of the throat. And its sophisticated robotic instrumentation, which translates the surgeon’s movements to a robotic arm, allows surgeons to work in tight, hard-to-reach places in the throat, removing tissues with the utmost precision.
Because the procedure is performed through the mouth, patients experience significantly less pain and recovery time. In most cases, patients are released from the hospital one or two days after surgery, compared to longer stays with the traditional method of surgery. Full recovery takes up to four weeks
Benefits of TORS
Precise removal of cancerous tissue
Low rate of complications
Low blood loss
Minimal need for tracheotomy (breathing tube)
Minimal need for chemo-radiation therapy
Ability to swallow following surgery
Short hospital stay
No visible scarring or disfigurement.
To be affiliated with the Midwest Institute of Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, surgeons must meet rigorous criteria and demonstrate excellent outcomes and high patient satisfaction.