Minimally invasive or endoscopic head and neck surgery (eHNS) is a dynamic new approach that allows surgeons to remove tumors with use of a specialized endocopes and cameras without external incisions and usually with little or no change in speech, appearance, and swallowing function.
An endoscope is a long, thin tube with special lighting and a narrow lens through which the surgeon can view organs and tissue inside of the body. For throat cancers, the surgeon inserts the endoscope through the patient’s mouth, and a microscope provides an excellent image of the tumor. Using very precise, state-of-the-art surgical instruments that are also inserted through the mouth, the surgeon can perform the operation without an external incision.
eHNS has several advantages in many cases. Some of these advantages are:
Reduced risk of blood loss
Lower pain levels
Fewer days spent in the hospital
Quicker return to a normal diet and faster recovery time
Less scarring, with improved cosmetic appearance
In some cases of throat cancer, eHNS may reduce or even eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Transoral endoscopic head and neck surgery is a new approach for the treatment of oropharyngeal tumors. Using either a robotic system and/or laser, surgeons gain access through the mouth via minimally invasive technique and thus have improved visualization of the tumors of the oropharynx, without disfiguring incisions. This transoral route of access minimizes long-term speech and swallowing dysfunction.