mperial Private Healthcare patients are benefiting from the use of a pioneering robotic- assisted surgical treatment for tongue and throat cancer. Specific tumours are now

being removed through the mouth in a surgical procedure

called Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS), leading to quicker recovery and less side effects than standard treatments which have been known to cause long-term speech and swallowing problems.

The procedure uses the high-tech

Da Vinci robotic system, which has a 3D high definition vision and small surgical instruments. The instruments rotate far more than human wrists, meaning the surgeon controlling the system can see inside the patient’s mouth in great detail and make precise incisions. The private facility and its affiliated NHS

Trust, Imperial College Healthcare, are one of only a handful of centres in the country offering this type of advanced surgery for hard-to-reach oropharyngeal cancers, which affect the middle part of the throat. The technique is also available to private patients for other conditions such as sleep apnoea and snoring.

GREATER SURGICAL ACCURACY Mr Zaid Awad, a consultant otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon, said: “We combine surgical knowledge, skill and experience with advanced technologies to achieve much greater surgical accuracy and better results for our patients.

“Robotic-assisted surgery allows us to

operate in a confined space with high precision to remove cancer with minimal damage. There is less risk of infection, less blood loss and patients can quickly go back to eating and drinking normally.” Traditionally these cancers were treated

with radical surgery or high-dose toxic chemo-radiotherapy but both approaches have a huge impact on patients’ quality of life with longer hospital stays and ongoing challenges around speaking and swallowing. With TORS, patients return to day-to-

day life sooner with a hospital stay of about two weeks or less. They quickly regain normal speech and swallowing, returning to a normal diet in four to six weeks. To use the complex technology safely

and effectively, Mr Awad spent long periods in simulation training, as well assisting in


“We combine surgical knowledge, skill and experience with advanced technologies to achieve much greater surgical accuracy and better

results for our patients.” MR ZAID AWAD

numerous cases. He also spent a year in Australia performing this surgery under expert supervision where he successfully treated more than 50 patients. Mastering this new approach additionally meant spending many hours understanding the technology and developing the necessary skills.


“For a cancer centre to be complete, it must be able to provide patients with the full range of treatments options and offer the one with the best chance of recovery. These include open surgery, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and now, minimally invasive surgery”, Mr Awad said. “It is essential that surgeons who use this new technology also master the traditional surgical techniques and approaches. It is only then that we can

PROMISING EARLY RESULTS Mr Awad began treating our patients suffering from throat cancer with TORS in October 2016 and in the first year has treated 13 patients. Of these, 12 patients are disease- free. One patient is still undergoing investigations to check for additional cancers. Mr Awad said: “These early results

are very promising. When treating cancer, you aim for the best option with the least side-effects which is what we are achieving.” V

Imperial Private Healthcare

truly recommend the best treatment option for each patient”, he added. Imperial Private Healthcare patients also benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach with their care managed by a broad team of experts. This includes specialists such as oncologists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, histopathologists, radiologists, specialist cancer nurses and more.

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