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Prior to the availability of the da Vinci® robot, cancers in the back of the throat had been extremely difficult for surgeons to reach. In order to perform surgery in this area, doctors had to perform radical procedures such as cutting through the patient’s jaw bone. The split jaw bones would then be pushed aside to allow the surgeon to see and remove the cancer in the back of the throat. Afterward, a large amount of reconstructive surgery would be needed to put the jaw bone back together.

The recovery after this type of surgery is often prolonged and complicated. However, the jaw splitting and reconstruction can now be avoided with the use of the da Vinci® robot by surgeons such as Dr. Ho-Sheng Lin of the Wayne State University Physician Group. The high-definition 3D camera as well as surgical instruments can be easily inserted through the natural opening of the patient’s mouth. This provides the surgeon excellent visualization of the cancer in the back of the throat and allows for meticulous cutting and removal of the cancer.

A procedure which used to take 6-8 hours can now be performed with the robot in about one hour.  Patients can return to eating right after the surgery and they are able to enjoy a shortened hospital stay. Overall the recovery is much quicker due to the minimally invasive nature of this type of surgery thanks to the da Vinci® robot and the unmatched expertise of Dr. Ho-Sheng Lin and the doctors of Wayne State University Physician Group.

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