Intuitive for Head and Neck Patients
Understand your head and neck surgery options
Head and neck conditions
Conditions of the head and neck cover a wide range. They include, but are not limited to, cancers of the mouth, soft palate, tongue, throat, and tonsils. Doctors who see patients with cancers found in the mouth or throat may recommend chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of these options. Their recommendation will depend on the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. Other noncancerous conditions related to the back of the mouth, tongue, and throat exist for which doctors may suggest surgery, as well.
Types of surgery
In the past, doctors performed open surgery, which required a long incision (cut) from the bottom lip down to the middle of the neck and up to the ear. Surgeons also had to split open the jaw to be able to reach the back of the mouth and throat. Today, for benign (noncancerous) conditions and early stage cancers, doctors can also use minimally invasive transoral (through the mouth) surgery that requires no incisions. Transoral surgery options may include endoscopic, laser microsurgery, or robotic-assisted surgery, possibly with da Vinci®.
In endoscopic head and neck surgery (eHNS), the surgeon passes a long, lighted tube with a camera (called an endoscope) down the throat. The surgeon passes surgical instruments into the throat and performs surgery while viewing magnified images on a video screen. Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) also uses an endoscope and views magnified images on a screen, but the surgeon uses a microlaser instead of a scalpel to perform the surgery. Transoral robotic-assisted surgery (TORS) also requires no incisions but uses robotic technology such as da Vinci to perform surgery.
What is a da Vinci system?
The da Vinci is a surgical system comprised of three components: surgeon console, patient-side cart, and vision cart.
- Surgeon console: The surgeon console is where your surgeon sits during the procedure, has a close-up 3D view of your anatomy, and controls the instruments. The instruments are “wristed” and move like a human hand, but with a far greater range of motion.
- Patient cart: The patient-side cart is positioned near the patient on the operating table. It is where the instruments used during the operation move in real time in response to your surgeon’s hand movements at the surgeon console.
- Vision cart: The vision cart makes communication between the components of the system possible and supports the latest 3D high-definition vision system.
It’s important to remember that Intuitive does not provide medical advice. After discussing all options with your doctor, only you and your doctor can determine whether surgery with da Vinci is appropriate for your situation. You should always ask your surgeon about his or her training, experience, and patient outcomes.
Robotic-assisted head and neck procedures
- Surgery for benign and malignant tumors of the mouth and throat less than 4 cm in size
- Benign base of tongue resections
Talk with your doctor if you have any additional questions about these procedures.
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Important Safety Information
Patients should talk to their doctors to decide if da Vinci® surgery is right for them. Patients and doctors should review all available information on nonsurgical and surgical options and associated risks in order to make an informed decision.
Serious complications may occur in any surgery, including da Vinci surgery, up to and including death. Serious risks include, but are not limited to, injury to tissues and organs and conversion to other surgical techniques, which could result in a longer operative time and/or increased complications. For Important Safety Information, including surgical risks, indications, and considerations and contraindications for use, please also refer to www.intuitive.com/safety.
Individuals' outcomes may depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to patient characteristics, disease characteristics, and/or surgeon experience.
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©2019 Intuitive Surgical, Inc. All rights reserved. Product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. The information on this website is intended for a United States audience only.
This website does not provide medical advice. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
The materials on this website are for general educational information only. Information you read on this website cannot replace the relationship that you have with your healthcare professional. Intuitive Surgical does not practice medicine or provide medical services or advice and the information on this website should not be considered medical advice. You should always talk to your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment. Health information changes quickly. Therefore, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider.
If you have questions about the da Vinci® Surgical System or about surgical procedures conducted with the da Vinci Surgical System, consult a surgeon that has experience with the da Vinci Surgical System. A list of surgeons that have experience with the da Vinci Surgical System can be found in the Surgeon Locator.