Robotic surgery though the mouth is a safe, effective way to remove tumors of the throat and voice box, according to a study published in in the journal, Head and Neck, by surgeons at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

The researchers say that this is the first report illustrating the safety and efficacy of transoral robotic surgery for laryngectomy in the supraglottic region between the base of the tongue and just above the vocal cords.

Their study looked at the outcomes of 13 head and neck cancer patients and found that using robot-assisted surgery to remove these tumors took, on average, about 25 minutes, with minimal blood loss, and with no surgical complications. Eleven of the patients could accept an oral diet within 24 hours.

In comparison, removing these tumors, through open surgery on the neck, took approximately four hours per operation, with seven to ten days of hospitalization, and required a tracheostomy tube and a stomach tube, the researchers said.

Transoral robotic surgery took much less time under anesthesia, had a lower risk of complicatiions, a shorter recovery time, and there were no external incisions. In addition, they found that the robotic surgery provided a much better 3D visualization of the tumor for the surgeon.