Transoral Robotic Surgery with Laser for Head and Neck Cancers: A Feasibility Study

 2012;74(3):124-8. doi: 10.1159/000337092. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Authors: Marco Benazzo, Pietro Canzi, Antonio Occhini

Aims: To assess the feasibility of a flexible thulium laser coupled with a novel robotic introducer for head and neck cancers.

Methods: In a prospective nonrandomized clinical trial, 58 patients were evaluated. When indicated, transoral robotic surgery (TORS) with laser was performed using an Intuitive da Vinci S System with the Intuitive Surgical Endo Wrist Introducer, 5Fr to hold and position thulium surgical laser fibers.

Results: Six patients underwent TORS with laser for early supraglottic and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. All approaches were successfully completed without the need for microscopic/open conversion or positive margins to the final pathological study. No intraoperative adverse events occurred and recovery was relatively quick, with no evidence of disease recurrence at the time of reporting, the short observation time notwithstanding. Conclusions: In our preliminary experience, TORS with laser showed feasible and promising results. Further studies are mandatory to demonstrate thulium laser benefits in surgical and oncological practice.