Sisters Hospital First in Western New York to Perform da Vinci-approved Robotic Throat Surgery

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June 20, 2011

Oral (throat) cancer affects more than 30,000 people in the United States each year. Thousands more suffer from non-cancerous throat tumors. Fortunately, these patients now have a minimally invasive treatment option for these conditions – Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) with the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. Sisters of Charity Hospital, part of Catholic Health, is one of only a handful across the country offering this state-of-the-art procedure.

Saurin Popat, MD, an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at Sisters Hospital, is the only industry-approved Robotic Head and Neck surgeon in Western New York. In April, he, and the robotic surgery team at Sisters Hospital, performed the area’s first da Vinci approved TORS procedure, successfully removing an enlarged, non-cancerous tumor of the supraglottic larynx (voice box above the level of the vocal cords).

Using the most advanced da Vinci robotic technology available, Dr. Popat performed the delicate surgery through the patient’s mouth, resulting in no visible incisions. The robotic procedure offers an excellent alternative to traditional “open” surgery and reduces the risk of complications, which can affect the patient’s voice or ability to eat normally.

“Patients who are diagnosed with early to moderate stage throat cancer are the best candidates for TORS,” says Dr. Popat. “It offers minimal pain and discomfort, no tracheotomy, low risk of complications, a shorter hospital stay and no visible scarring or disfigurement.”

TORS also helps patients avoid the traumatic aspects of traditional open surgery, which requires cutting through the throat and jaw. This can mean a long, painful recovery for the patient, potential disfigurement, and difficulty eating, speaking or swallowing, which can lead to a permanent feeding tube.