Robotics Offers Revolutionary Cancer Treatment

That hope is that TORS can be developed to treat other varieties of cancer.

WESTWOOD—A technique known as Trans Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS), cancerous tumors once deemed inoperable can now be removed through a non-invasive procedure performed by a specially-trained physician.

Oropharyngeal (throat) cancer, a consequence of Human papillomavirus (HPV), used to only be operable through highly invasive surgical techniques that involved going through neck or face; a procedure that required a long, sometimes impossible recovery.

TORS, performed by a physician controlling a surgical robot possessing robotic arms and a 3D, high-definition camera, allows patients to leave the hospital tumor-free in 1-2 days, returning to normal function in a matter of weeks.

Dr. Abie Mendelsohn and his UCLA Medical Center Colleagues have streamlined the procedure so that it can operate on tumors lodged deep inside the head, negating the need for follow-up treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

TORS is a benefit to throat cancer patients. The goal is to one day refine the robotic technique to save patients afflicted with a variety of cancers.

“We are tremendously excited about the possibilities for the surgical community with this new advancement of TORS,” said Mendelsohn. “Now patients have options they never had before, and we can even develop potential applications for the procedure beyond the surface of the head and neck,” he added.