TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS)

OHSU Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS)

TransOral robotic surgery allows the surgeon access to areas that historically would require an open incision, by splitting the lip and jaw. In TORS, pencil-like robotic instruments go through the mouth and are controlled by the surgeon at a nearby console. The robotic instruments allow precise freedom of movement in tight spaces, while the binocular high-definition camera projects a 3-D image to the surgeon.

TransOral robotic surgery has dramatically improved the surgeon’s ability to:

  • access throat cancers
  • preserve the patients’ speech and swallowing ability
  • maintain a good quality of life for the patient

Personalized cancer care

At OHSU, we develop a personalized cancer treatment plan for every head and neck cancer patient. The breath of our collective experience is unmatched in Oregon.

TORS gives surgeons the ability to remove the tumor in a complete block. The larger mass helps to improve the pathological analysis of the tumor.  Outcomes of the tumor analysis will give doctors more information about your cells and tumor, allowing them to develop individual cancer care plans for each patient.

Advantages of TORS for head and neck cancer

Advantages of TORS transoral robotic surgeryTransOral robotic surgery has revolutionized the approach to treating many throat cancers. Patient benefits include:
  • no visible scarring
  • significantly less blood loss
  • possibility of avoiding a tracheotomy
  • shorter hospital stays
  • faster recovery to normal speech and swallowing
Most patients treated with TORS leave the hospital within three days and are able to swallow within two weeks after surgery. Compared to conventional surgery, where patients could spend a week in the hospital and months regaining the ability to swallow.  In addition, TORS can minimize or eliminate the need for radiation therapy and chemotherapy, both of which can leave a patient with dry mouth, loss of taste and difficulty swallowing.

Early stage head and neck cancer

Patients with early stage head and neck cancer may be able to be treated solely with transoral robotic surgery and can often avoid radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Advanced stage head and neck cancer

Patients with more advanced head and neck cancer who are treated with TORS can usually be treated with a lower dose of radiation therapy and can often avoid chemotherapy.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Many studies have shown that HPV is associated with several head and neck cancers. Patients with HPV-associated head and neck cancer are typically younger and healthier than patients historically treated for head and neck cancer.

The prognosis has dramatically improved for HPV-associated head and neck cancer patients.  A majority of these patients are cured of cancer. At OHSU, transoral robotic surgery is now an integral part of our treatment approach to HPV-associated head and neck cancer. It provides the opportunity to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize harm.