Author: Joseph A. Califano, MD
Joseph A. Califano, MD, professor of surgery, University of California, San Diego, discusses the role of surgery in head and neck cancer.
The surgeon has evolved to have a more integrative role in patient care for those with head and neck cancer. Current surgical techniques used in the treatment of head and neck cancers have greatly evolved in the last two decades. Surgery is more precise, and leaves patients with excellent function and cosmetic results by incision through natural orifices, Califano says.
Robotic surgery is the cornerstone of head and neck cancer surgery, says Califano. It is effective in terms of resecting tumors of the throat, tonsils, back of the tongue, and the nasopharynx—which are hard to reach without robotic instrumentation. Califano says that the benefits of robotic surgery in this setting are that it leaves patients with excellent function, swallowing, voice, and allows for a rapid recovery.