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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery

2012 Sep; Volume 147, Issue 3, pp. 482-8.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1177/0194599812443353. Copyright © Sage


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of establishing a transoral robotic surgical (TORS) program in the post-Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval setting. Early outcomes are compared with the previously reported results of pioneering centers.

STUDY DESIGN: Clinical data from a prospective TORS study.

SETTING: Academic university institution.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Sixty-one patients treated with 63 TORS procedures. Main outcome measures: intraoperative times, margin status, complications, time to diet, and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube retention rate. The authors also report oncologic outcomes on their first 30 patients.

RESULTS: The spectrum of subsites included tongue base, tonsil, parapharyngeal space, retromolar trigone, supraglottis, and posterior pharyngeal wall. Surgical console time averaged 79 ± 53 minutes. After re-resection of 4 patients, final negative margin status was 94% (50/53). A subset of 30 patients with squamous cell carcinoma reaching an average of 18 months of follow-up had a local regional control rate of 97% with a disease-free survival rate of 90%. The PEG tube retention rate was 7%. Complications included 2 readmissions with dehydration, 1 aspiration pneumonia, and 2 with minor oropharyngeal bleeding. Ninety-one percent of patients resumed an oral diet by the first postoperative visit.

CONCLUSION: The initiation of a TORS program in the post-FDA setting can be achieved in a safe and efficient manner. Early results of pioneering TORS centers are reproducible. Continued investigation of TORS as a treatment option for oropharyngeal carcinoma is warranted.

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