Transoral Robotic Surgery Using a Carbon Dioxide Flexible Laser for Tumors of the Upper Aerodigestive Tract

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of coupling transoral robotic technology with the flexible carbon dioxide (CO2) laser for various tumors of the oropharynx and supraglottic larynx.

Study Design:

Prospective, pilot trial.

Methods:

Eight patients were enrolled in an IRB-approved prospective trial for transoral robotic surgery with the aid of the flexible CO2 laser.

Results:

Seven male patients with early carcinoma of the oropharynx or larynx successfully underwent tumor extirpation with the transoral robot and the flexible CO2 laser. We were unable to gain access to the supraglottic larynx in one female patient. The final pathology revealed seven patients with squamous cell carcinoma and one patient with adenoid cystic carcinoma. The flexible CO2 laser provided fine incisions with excellent hemostasis and minimal peripheral tissue injury. Additionally, the laser provided an excellent tool for raising pharyngeal flaps for reconstruction of the oropharynx.

Conclusion:

The flexible CO2 laser offers a unique advantage of precise incisions and may provide a valuable tool for both tumor extirpation and the creation of flaps for transoral robotic reconstruction.

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