Transoral robotic surgery: Does the ends justify the means?

Gregory S. Weinstein, Bert W. O'Malley, Shaun C. Desai, Harry Quon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Head and neck surgical science has developed dramatically during the past 20 years with a major focus on organ preservation surgery. Among these organ preserving surgeries are the selective neck dissections, supracricoid partial laryngectomies, transoral laser surgeries, and now a newcomer, transoral robotic surgery utilizing the da Vinci surgical system. Transoral robotic surgery is in its infancy, but, indeed, there have been some questions raised about the role of these innovative robotic surgical techniques. RECENT FINDINGS: This article will review, point by point, the questions that have been raised concerning the feasibility; safety and efficacy; teachability; and cost effectiveness of transoral robotic surgery. SUMMARY: Although the present literature reports early findings, without long-term oncologic outcomes, the results are consistently encouraging. Training programs have already yielded successes. Indeed, multiple institutions have shown that transoral robotic surgery programs can be successfully established yielding excellent clinical outcomes. In addition, early studies of swallowing function following transoral robotic surgery show swallowing outcomes that are superior to some of the reported chemoradiation results for equivalent lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Da Vinci surgical system
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Larynx cancer
  • Tonsil cancer
  • Transoral robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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