Single-Port Robot Tool Shows Promise in Throat Cancer

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The use of a single-port robot may allow for surgically treating more patients with head and neck cancer in a more timely manner, according to Hilary McCrary, MD, MPH.

A single-port robotic tool may allow practices to offer more effective surgery for patients with benign or malignant tumors at the back of the throat and improve outcomes for those in the Mountain West region of the United States, said Hilary McCrary, MD, MPH.

In an interview with CancerNetwork®, McCrary, a head and neck surgical oncologist and microvascular reconstruction surgeon at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital and assistant professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Utah, spoke about how a single-port robot for surgery, the first of its kind available for patients in the Mountain West, may offer a more “definitive” surgical approach for patients with tumors in the throat.The device is equipped with an advanced camera capable of changing shape and enhancing visibility during surgery for tumors in the base of the tongue or supraglottic region.

According to McCrary, the use of the robotic tool may help treat a higher volume of patients more quickly compared with prior robotic procedures. Additionally, she described how the robot assisted with surgery and provided an “optimal” outcome for a previously treated patient with a cyst mass in the back of his throat.

Transcript:

The impact is that we’re able to offer better surgeries for patients [who have] both benign and malignant tumors at the back of the throat. For example, the first surgery that we did here at Huntsman was for a benign [tumor at the] base of the tongue or [otherwise known as a] vallecular cyst mass that a patient had for several years and had undergone many prior excisions. With this advanced technology, we were able to offer a more definitive approach to his tumor.

[The robot] will allow us to [treat] more patients in a more timely fashion. We’re now able to schedule these surgeries on various days of the week, whereas we had a more restricted operating room [OR] time using the more traditional robotic systems. Ultimately, we’re going to be able to see more patients and offer more precise surgery more efficiently. That will mean better outcomes for our patients here in the Mountain West.

We [conducted] the surgery back at the end of January [2024]. [The patient’s] tumor was quite tricky in terms of exposure. We were able to get a very nice resection. I’ve seen him since, and he’s doing well. Without that technology, his tumor resection would have been extremely difficult because of how difficult that exposure was. Using this advanced technology and getting that advanced camera positioning allowed us to have an optimal outcome for that patient.

Reference

Single-port robotic surgery is making its debut in the Mountain West. News release. University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute. January 29, 2024. Accessed February 28, 2024. http://tinyurl.com/2swezdcd

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