Is There a Role for Robotic Surgery in the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer?

James Kenneth Byrd, Robert L. Ferris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Given the potential for long-term toxicities from concurrent chemoradiation, there is great interest in surgery as a primary treatment modality for head and neck cancers, particularly in the younger HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer patient. Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) has proven to be an effective technique to safely treat oropharyngeal and select supraglottic tumors surgically. Sound, traditional surgical principles are employed using improved endoscopic visualization and precise instrumentation to perform oncologic surgery without the morbidity of transmandibular or transcervical approaches. Although level 1 evidence prospective clinical trials are currently underway for TORS, the literature supports its safety and efficacy based on numerous studies. Currently, prospective randomized trials are underway to provide better evidence for or against TORS in oropharyngeal cancer. Patient selection based on comorbidities, anatomy, and available pathological data is critical in choosing patients for TORS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalCurrent treatment options in oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • TORS
  • Transoral robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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