Salvage Transoral Robotic Surgery for Recurrent or Residual Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Single Institution Experience


Background: The present study was conducted to evaluate the technical feasibility, safety and adequacy of surgical margins with salvage transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for recurrent or residual head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients. Materials and
Methods: Thirty patients who underwent salvage TORS using the ‘DaVinci’ robot were enrolled in the study and data related to their surgical time, complications and functional outcome were recorded.
Results: The feasibility of salvage TORS in our study was observed to be 100%. Positive margins were encountered in only 6.7% of patients. Mean blood loss was 23.3 ml with no patient requiring blood transfusion. Postoperative complications in the form of primary haemorrhage requiring active surgical intervention occurred in 13.3%. Oral feeding could be started as early as the 3rd postoperative day in a few patients, with nasogastric tubes being removed on the 12th postoperative day. Long term gastrostomy tube dependency was seen in 10% cases. Median survival of patients was 19 months.
Conclusions: Salvage TORS is a safe, effective and feasible option in the management of treatment failure cases. It offers an alternative surgical approach with unexpected benefits in terms of tracheostomy tube use, Ryle’s tube and gastrostomy dependence.