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Transoral robotic surgery and oropharyngeal cancer: A literature review

| Reprints
August 28, 2014
by Paraig O'Leary, MD; Thomas Kjaergaard, MD, PhD

Abstract

The incidence of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma has risen steadily over the past decade due to the increase in cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV). The prognosis for the treatment of this type of cancer with radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy is good. However, because these treatments can have detrimental effects on organ function and quality of life, researchers are looking into transoral robotic surgery (TORS) as a possible alternate therapy. TORS might have a positive effect on postoperative function and quality of life for cancer survivors. The aim of this review is to report on the current situation regarding the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer with TORS, with a focus on the long-term oncologic and functional outcomes of this strategy. The articles cited in this review were selected from the PubMed and MEDLINE database. They contain study results pertaining to TORS implementation, complications, oncologic and functional outcomes, and the implications of HPV-associated cancer. We found that while TORS has some clear advantages and strengths and almost certainly a permanent place in future treatment, further research is necessary to correctly evaluate the role it will play in the complete management of oropharyngeal cancer.

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