If you have a head or neck tumor, your cancer physician may recommend surgery, depending on its location. At the UCLA Head and Neck Cancer Program (HNCP), we offer minimally invasive surgery for cancer whenever possible.
Until recently, people with complex head and neck disorders had few options for minimally invasive surgery for treatment. Traditional approaches to cancer removal through external incisions often resulted in:
“Minimally invasive” surgery may cause fewer side effects compared to traditional surgery. This type of surgery is usually performed with an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end.
The newest treatment option for head and neck cancer is transoral robotic surgery (TORS). This technique is especially helpful for patients with cancers of the mouth, pharynx (throat), and larynx (voice box). Compared with traditional surgery, minimally invasive TORS can benefit patients by:
Our surgeons use the TORS system at both the Ronald Reagan and Santa Monica UCLA Medical Centers. This system is the latest version of the da Vinci robotic surgical system and features the following:
Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) uses a cutting laser and binocular microscopes to remove tumors. Our surgeons use the cutting energy of the laser to separate and remove cancerous cells from healthy tissue.
The TLM technique has proved to help retain organ function and quality of life in patients after surgery. In addition to tumors of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, TLM is especially suited for cancerous tissue removal in the voice box and lower throat areas.