Dallan, I., P. Castelnuovo, et al. (2011). “The natural evolution of endoscopic approaches in skull base surgery: robotic-assisted surgery?” Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica 31(6): 390-394.
The current surgical trend is to expand the variety of minimally invasive approaches and, in particular, the possible applications of robotic systems in head and neck surgery. This is particularly intriguing in skull base regions. In this paper, we review the current literature and propose personal considerations on the role of robotic techniques in this field. A brief description of our personal preclinical experience on skull base robotic dissection represents the basis for further considerations. We are convinced that the advantages of robotic surgery applied to the posterior cranial fossa are similar to those already clinically experienced in other areas (oropharynx, tongue base), in terms of tremor-free, bimanual, precise dissection: the implementation of instruments for bony work and resolving current drawbacks will definitely increase the applicability of such a system in forthcoming years.
Davis, S. F., M. A. Khalek, et al. (2011). “Detection and prevention of impending brachial plexus injury secondary to arm positioning using ulnar nerve somatosensory evoked potentials during transaxillary approach for thyroid lobectomy.” American Journal of Electroneurodiagnostic Technology 51(4): 274-279.
Robotic assisted surgery is becoming widely used for procedures such as radical prostatectomy. The use of robotic assisted surgery to perform partial and complete thyroidectomies using a transaxillary approach is being investigated in patient populations who wish to avoid a conspicuous cervical scar. Patient positioning for this approach as well as retraction during exposure has the potential to result in postoperative brachial plexopathy similar to what is seen in other types of surgery. We report the use of ulnar nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) to detect and prevent positional related neuropathy in the first pediatric patient in the world to undergo this procedure. We conclude that upper extremity SSEPs should be routinely performed during robotic assisted thyroidectomy. © ASET, Missouri.
de Almeida, J. R. and E. M. Genden (2012). “Robotic Surgery for Oropharynx Cancer: Promise, Challenges, and Future Directions.” Current Oncology Reports.
Epidemiologic studies have shown a rise in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer without a corresponding increase in oral cavity cancers. These diverging trends are explained by human papilloma virus, which preferentially affects the oropharynx. Cancers resulting from this viral infection bear a better prognosis than those that are smoking-related. Treatment of oropharyngeal cancers has typically involved the use of radiation and chemotherapy to avoid the morbidity of mandibular splitting surgery. The use of transoral robotic surgery (TORS) has obviated the need for large-scale open approaches but still provides the pathologic staging data that is unavailable from non-surgical approaches. Although TORS is in its infancy, early functional and oncologic outcome data are promising. The complex management of oropharyngeal cancers should utilize the available treatment modalities to optimize outcomes and stratify patients to different treatment based on risk status.
Foley, C. S., O. Agcaoglu, et al. (2012). “Robotic transaxillary endocrine surgery: a comparison with conventional open technique.” Surgical Endoscopy.
BACKGROUND: Robotic transaxillary (RT) endocrine surgery may improve cosmetic outcomes. We report our initial experience in RT thyroid and parathyroid surgery and the associated learning curve, and compare early surgical outcomes to those of open thyroidectomy (OT) and focal parathyroidectomy (FP). METHODS: A prospective database review identified patients who had undergone RT endocrine surgery. A case-matched group who underwent OT or FP was also identified. Demographics, histopathology, operative outcomes, and follow-up data were collected. Groups were compared using Student’s t test and the chi(2) test. RESULTS: Fifteen RT procedures were performed: 11 RT thyroidectomies (6 total, 5 lobectomies) and 4 RT parathyroidectomies (2 focal, 2 unilateral), representing 5.9% and 2.2% of thyroidectomies and parathyroidectomies performed. The OT group contained 16 patients (13 totals, 3 lobectomies). The FP group contained 12 patients. There was no significant difference in age, gender, BMI, pathology, or complications between the groups. Mean operating time was significantly longer in the RT group (232 vs. 109 min, P = 0.0002) as was mean incision length (6 vs. 3.6 cm, P < 0.0001). No RT procedures were converted and no major complications occurred. Operating time decreased significantly over consecutive cases demonstrating a learning curve. CONCLUSIONS: RT thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy can be performed safely by specialist endocrine surgeons, early in their learning curve, without an increased complication rate, albeit with significantly longer operating times.
Kandil, E., S. Abdelghani, et al. (2012). “Transaxillary Gasless Robotic Thyroidectomy: A Single Surgeon’s Experience in North America.” Archives of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery 138(2): 113-117.
OBJECTIVE: To describe a robotic technique for transaxillary gasless thyroidectomy with the addition of intraoperative peripheral nerve monitoring in the surgical management of thyroid disease. DESIGN: Prospective study. SETTING: Academic institution. PATIENTS: Fifty patients underwent robotic transaxillary thyroidectomy from September 1, 2009, to August 31, 2010. All the patients underwent preoperative and postoperative direct laryngoscopy. The patients’ demographic information, operative times, complications, postoperative hospital stay, and the surgeon’s learning curve were evaluated. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Feasibility of the robotic approach, patient and gland characteristics, operative time, and complications. RESULTS: Thirty-nine females and 11 males with a mean age of 48.2 (age range, 13-76) years were included in the study. A total of 37 surgical procedures were lobectomies, and 13 were total or near-total thyroidectomies. The mean nodule size (range) was 24.9 (10-72) mm. The mean operative time (range) was 122.5 (81-280) minutes, mean docking time (range) was 10.1 (6-15) minutes, and mean console time (range) was 55.5 (10-140) minutes. Mean blood loss (range) was 25 (10-100) mL. There were no conversions to conventional open surgery. One patient developed transient radial nerve neuropathy that resolved spontaneously. There were no other postoperative complications. In addition, there was no evidence of vocal cord palsy or paresis on postoperative laryngoscopy. All the patients were discharged home within 24 hours. Subjectively, the cosmetic results were considered excellent owing to the hidden anatomical location of the incision site. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated the technique to be feasible, safe, and applicable for patients with thyroid disease. We believe that the use of robotic technology for endoscopic thyroid surgical procedures could overcome the limitations of conventional endoscopic surgical procedures in the surgical management of thyroid disease. To our knowledge, this is the first reported large series using this novel technique in the United States.
Lee, H. S., J. Kim, et al. (2012). “Transoral robotic surgery for neurogenic tumors of the prestyloid parapharyngeal space.” Auris, Nasus, Larynx.
The parapharyngeal space is a difficult area for a surgical approach due to anatomical complexity. We performed a minimally invasive and precise surgical technique to remove neurogenic tumors of the prestyloid parapharyngeal space using transoral robotic instrumentation. The mass was successfully removed in the two cases with three-dimensional visualization providing an excellent view of the resection margin and the dissection plane preserving the vital structures. An adequate resection margin was acquired, and no violation of the tumor capsule occurred. No significant complications were noted. Transoral robotic surgery was feasible for neurogenic tumors of the prestyloid parapharyngeal space, providing a sufficient resection margin and delicate dissection through excellent surgical views and instrumentation.
Leonhardt, F. D., H. Quon, et al. (2012). “Transoral robotic surgery for oropharyngeal carcinoma and its impact on patient-reported quality of life and function.” Head and Neck 34(2): 146-154.
Background The aim of this study was to assess the quality of life of patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma after transoral robotic surgery (TORS). Methods Short Form (SF)-8 and Performance Status Scale (PSS) questionnaires were completed prior to surgery, 6 and 12 months of follow-up. Results In all, 38 patients treated with TORS followed by adjuvant therapy as indicated were prospectively enrolled. For PSS Eating and Diet domains, significant decreases occurred at 6 months (p ≤.001 and p ≤.001, respectively) but not at 12 months. Significant declines in PSS Speech were seen at 6 and 12 months (p ≤.001 and p ≤.001). There were no significant declines in the SF-8 domains, except for Bodily Pain and Global Health (6 months). Significantly higher PSS Eating and Diet scores were seen at 6 months for TORS alone compared with TORS and chemoradiation. Conclusions Combination TORS and adjuvant therapy caused a temporary decrease in several domains at 6 months, returning to baseline including swallowing function in all patients. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Mantovani, G., P. Liverneaux, et al. (2011). “Endoscopic exploration and repair of brachial plexus with telerobotic manipulation: a cadaver trial.” Journal of Neurosurgery 115(3): 659-664.
OBJECT: The aim of this paper was to develop an effective minimally invasive approach to brachial plexus surgery and to determine the feasibility of using telerobotic manipulation to perform a diagnostic dissection and microsurgical repair of the brachial plexus utilizing an entirely endoscopic approach. METHODS: The authors performed an endoscopic approach using 3 supraclavicular portals in 2 fresh human cadaver brachial plexuses with the aid of the da Vinci telemanipulation system. Dissection was facilitated inflating the area with CO(2) at 4 mm Hg pressure. The normal supraclavicular plexus was dissected in its entirety to confirm the feasibility of a complete supraclavicular brachial plexus diagnostic exploration. Subsequently, an artificial lesion to the upper trunk was created, and nerve graft reconstruction was performed. Images and video of the entire procedure were obtained and edited to illustrate the technique. RESULTS: All supraclavicular structures of the brachial plexus could be safely dissected and identified, similar to the experience in open surgery. The reconstruction of the upper trunk with nerve graft was successfully completed using an epineural microsurgical suture technique performed exclusively with the aid of the robot. There were no instances of inadvertent macroscopic damage to the vascular and nervous structures involved. CONCLUSIONS: An endoscopic approach to the brachial plexus is feasible. The use of the robot makes it possible to perform microsurgical procedures in a very small space with telemanipulation and minimally invasive techniques. The ability to perform a minimally invasive procedure to explore and repair a brachial plexus injury may provide a new option in the acute management of these injuries.
Takes, R. P., P. Strojan, et al. (2012). “Current trends in initial management of hypopharyngeal cancer: The declining use of open surgery.” Head and Neck 34(2): 270-281.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the hypopharynx represents a distinct clinical entity. Most patients present with significant comorbidities and advanced-stage disease. The overall survival is relatively poor because of high rates of regional and distant metastasis at presentation or early in the course of the disease. A multidisciplinary approach is crucial in the overall management of these patients to achieve the best results and maintain or improve functional results. Traditionally, operable hypopharyngeal cancer has been treated by total (occasionally partial) laryngectomy and partial or circumferential pharyngectomy, followed by reconstruction and postoperative radiotherapy in most cases. Efforts to preserve speech and swallowing function in the surgical treatment of hypopharyngeal (and laryngeal) cancer have resulted in a declining use of total laryngopharyngectomy and improved reconstructive efforts, including microvascular free tissue transfer. There are many surgical, as well as nonsurgical, options available for organ and function preservation, which report equally effective tumor control and survival. The selection of appropriate treatment is of crucial importance in the achievement of optimal results for these patients. In this article, several aspects of surgical and nonsurgical approaches in the treatment of hypopharyngeal cancer are discussed. Future studies must be carefully designed within clearly defined populations and use uniform terminology and standardized functional assessment and declare appropriate patient or disease endpoints. These studies should focus on improvement of resultsx, without increasing patient morbidity. In this respect, technical improvements in radiotherapy such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy, advances in supportive care, and incorporation of newer systemic agents such as targeted therapy, are relevant developments. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Van Abel, K. M., E. J. Moore, et al. (2012). “Transoral Robotic Surgery Using the Thulium:YAG Laser: A Prospective Study.” Archives of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery 138(2): 158-166.
OBJECTIVE: To compare thulium:YAG laser-assisted transoral robotic surgery (TY:TORS) and conventional electrocautery-equipped TORS (EC:TORS) in patients undergoing transoral resection of upper aerodigestive tract malignant neoplasms. DESIGN: Prospective matched cohort study. SETTING: Tertiary academic referral center. PATIENTS: Fifteen patients undergoing TY:TORS were matched on the basis of tumor site, clinical T stage, sex, and age with 30 control subjects undergoing EC:TORS. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was a comparison between the feasibility of TY:TORS compared with EC:TORS. The secondary outcome was a comparison between the safety and functional outcome of TY:TORS compared with EC:TORS in patients undergoing resection of upper aerodigestive tract malignant neoplasms. RESULTS: All the tumors underwent complete excision with negative margins. Estimated blood loss was minimal (<150 mL) for 87% of TY:TORS patients (13 of 15) and 63% of EC:TORS controls (19 or 30). Intraoperative pharyngotomy was reported in 8% of TY:TORS patients (1 of 13) and 42% of EC:TORS controls (11 of 30) (P = .03). Postoperative pain was greater in EC:TORS compared with TY:TORS (P = .02). No statistically significant differences were noted in hemostasis, postoperative bleeding rates, or other complications. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with EC:TORS, TY:TORS seems feasible and safe. In addition, TY:TORS resulted in fewer intraoperative pharyngotomies and less postoperative pain than did EC:TORS, which may be because of decreased collateral thermal damage, improved visualization, and finer cutting using the thulium laser.
Vidhyadharan, S., S. Krishnan, et al. (2012). “Transoral robotic surgery for removal of a second branchial arch cyst: a case report.” Journal of Robotic Surgery: 1-5.
Second branchial arch cysts are a common cause of cystic neck mass in adults. The type-IV variant of the second branchial arch cyst is uncommon and presents as a parapharyngeal space mass. It lies medial to the carotid sheath and it is not easily amenable to access by the traditional, trans-cervical approach to the parapharyngeal space. Trans-oral robotic surgery is a new application of the da Vinci robotic surgical system (Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale, CA, USA). The system has only recently been approved by the FDA for trans-oral robotic resection of oropharyngeal cancers. The technology has since been used for new trans-oral applications, including resection of parapharyngeal space tumours. This is a case report of successful trans-oral robotic resection of a type IV second branchial arch cyst in the parapharyngeal space. © 2012 Springer-Verlag London Ltd.