Robotic Surgery Very Effective In Treating Oropharyngeal Cancer (Video)
Over the last decades physicians observed a significant increase in incidence of oral cancers among young patients. Although oral cancer was considered quite rare in young patients and mostly related to advanced age, smoking and alcohol abuse, its incidence is currently increasing among 30- to 50-year-old patients who never smoked but infected with the human papillomavirus or HPV. Luckily this new type of cancer is not very agressive and the latest treatment options available like robotic surgery can provide a substantial benefit compared with open neck surgery or neck irradiation.
A recent study, available in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings reveals amazing results in HPV patients whose oral tumors (squamous cell carcinomas) were removed with the aid of robotic surgery.
According to study author Eric Moore, MD the cancer cure results were surprisingly even better compared with traditional surgery options but we must keep in mind that the treated HPV mediated cancers were not so aggressive. Robotic surgery proved to by successful in keeping the patient’s ability to swallow and speak normally.
The study was conducted on a batch of 66 patients with oropharyngeal cancer treated with robotic surgery using the da Vinci robotic surgical system. All participants underwent imaging tests every few months in order to highlight a possible cancer recurrence and after about 2 years scientists concluded that the surval rate was above 92%, percentage very close to that of the traditional surgical approach methods but less invasive.
Due to the fact that traditional surgical approaches include the removal and reconstruction of certain portions of the jawbone, neck and tongue, scientists were also very curious how patients healed after undergoing robotic surgery. About 96% of patients that were treated using the da Vinci robotic surgical system, were able to swallow normally after 3 weeks, less than 4% needed a gastrostomy tube ( tube surgically placed into the stomach through the abdominal wall in order to bypass the thorat).
The results show that robotic surgery is certainly an effective treatment option that must be considered by any oncologist or surgeon advising his patiens regarding the available therapies.
For more detailed data, Dr Moore and his research team now aim to asses the outcome of trasoral robotic surgery on a larger batch of patiens.