Author: Jodie Heisner

A breakthrough surgery helping those with mouth and throat cancer is being offered by a surgeon right here in the Valley (Mesa, AZ).

“It’s nice when about every few years something comes along that’s really a giant step,” said Dr. Glen Rothman of Banner Desert Medical Center.

That giant step is being taken with small robotic arms and 3-D imaging. The procedure is done without the doctor even touching you.

“Truly the ability to go through the mouth where my hands and my eyes cannot see, with tiny instrumentation and remove tumors in ways that really just did not exist before this technology,” said Dr. Rothman.

The procedure is helping patients with mouth and throat cancers similar to the type Michael Douglas is fighting.

“It is my understanding that he has squamous cell cancer of his tongue base and that is one of the areas where the daVinci robot could really be used,” said Dr. Rothman.

Douglas has opted for chemotherapy and radiation to treat the disease, but for those that choose the surgery with the daVinci robot there are benefits.

Without the robot the surgery involves cutting through the jaw leaving scarring. Typically patients are in the hospital for at least eight days.

“We do it though the mouth with no incisions on the outside. Just a couple days in the hospital, none of those tubes, no external scars and a much faster, easier recovery,” said Dr. Rothman.

It also helps to eliminate many of the facial deformities that often come with treatment for these types of cancer. It’s a breakthrough that goes beyond the operating room.