Transoral robotic surgery alone for oropharyngeal cancer: Quality-of-life outcomes

Garret W. Choby, Jeehong Kim, Diane C. Ling, Shira Abberbock, Rajarsi Mandal, Seungwon Kim, Robert L. Ferris, Umamaheswar Duvvuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Few studies have examined quality-of-life (QOL) outcomes in patients who undergo transoral robotic surgery (TORS) alone (ie, without adjuvant radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy). OBJECTIVE: To report QOL outcomes of patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who receive only TORS. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Medical records for all patients undergoing TORS for treatment of primary oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma from May 1, 2010, to March 31, 2014, at a tertiary care academic cancer center were examined from June through September 2014. Thirty-four patients who did not receive adjuvant therapy after TORS were included in the study. INTERVENTION: Primary surgical resection via TORS. MAINOUTCOMES ANDMEASURES: The University of Washington Quality of Life, version 4, questionnaire was completed by patients preoperatively and at 1-, 6-, 12-, and 24-month intervals after TORS. Demographic, clinicopathologic, and follow-up data were collected. RESULTS: Mean follow-up time was 14 months (May 1, 2010, to April 30, 2014). Most patients had T1 (20 [59%]) or T2 (13 [38%]) and N0 (13 [38%]) or N1 (16 [47%]) disease. Statistically significant improvement in QOL outcomes was noted in the following postoperative domains: chewing from1 month (median, 50 [IQR, 50-100]) to 12 months (100 [IQR,100-100]; P =.048), swallowing from 1 month (70 [IQR,30-85]) to6 months (100 [IQR, 70-100]; P =.047) and 1 to 24 months (100 [IQR, 70-100]; P =.048), pain from 1 month (38 [IQR, 25-75]) to 6 months (88 [IQR, 75-100]; P =.006) and 1 to 12 months after surgery (100 [IQR, 75-100]; P =.01), and activity from 1 month (63 [IQR, 50-88]) to 24 months (100 [IQR, 75-100]; P =.03). Two participants (6%) died during the follow-up period: 1 because of disease and 1 because of a myocardial infarction. Two patients (6%) required temporary gastrostomy tube placement, but none required tracheostomy. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Appropriately selected patients who undergo TORS alone for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma experience acceptable short- and long-term QOL outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-504
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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