Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS)

What is transoral robotic surgery (TORS)?

Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) is a minimally invasive form of surgery that uses robotic technology to treat:

How it works

TORS uses a robot-assisted surgical system, an advanced surgical robot that enables surgeons to access and operate on the throat or tongue base through the mouth.

The procedure does not require any external incisions or sawing of the jaw. It also allows surgeons to operate on the thyroid through small incisions in the mouth without any external incisions.

The robot-assisted surgical system enhances precision through tenfold magnification, removal of tremors and exact translation of the surgeon's movements on the robot.

Why do you need transoral robotic surgery (TORS)?

In traditional open surgery, surgeons need to use highly invasive approaches to access difficult to reach areas, like the back of the tongue or the throat. Examples of these highly invasive approaches include:

  • Sawing open the jaw
  • Large incisions in the neck, cutting through the swallowing muscles

These approaches may require transplanted tissue flaps from another part of the body, and often result in swallowing impairments. They may also cause external deformities, such as large scars, swelling, sunken areas and deformity at the donor site of the tissue flaps.

In TORS, there is minimal need to cut through normal tissue. There is also no need to transplant tissue from another part of the body. Wounds are able to heal naturally, sensory sensations in the swallowing muscles can be retained, and there is little scarring or disfigurement.

With TORS, general benefits include:

  • Better quality of life, as you can eat and drink more normally
  • Shorter duration of surgery, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery
  • Avoidance of chemotherapy and radiation if the whole cancer is removed completely through surgery alone
  • Lower treatment costs

Who should not undergo transoral robotic surgery (TORS)?

TORS may not be suitable for some patients and conditions:

  • If the tumour is too large and requires open surgery
  • If the tumour has invaded the bones or other structures
  • If the patient's anatomy does not allow the proper introduction of the robotic instruments

Our experienced surgeons will discuss your treatment options with you and help you decide on the best course of treatment.

What are the risks and complications of transoral robotic surgery (TORS)?

Regardless of the approach, thyroid surgery carries some risks as with any other surgery.

In transoral robotic thyroidectomy, for example, there are risks of damage to various critical structures surrounding the gland, such as the recurrent laryngeal nerves. These nerves control the movement of the vocal cords. Injury to these areas might cause hoarseness and difficulty in breathing.

Bleeding in the thyroid area may also result in airway compression, which is potentially life-threatening.

Why choose Gleneagles Hospital?

At Gleneagles Hospital, our team of surgeons and consultants are known in Singapore and the region for their surgical expertise in treating a wide spectrum of medical conditions.

Patients will undergo transoral robotic surgery in a well-equipped clinical setting, under surgeons specially trained in robot-assisted surgery.

Our otolaryngologists

Our ENT specialists are trained to perform operations for a wide range of clinical conditions using a minimally invasive, robot-assisted surgical system.

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