Head and neck surgeons celebrate new robot

Robot image

Seattle, WA | 06.08.2021

Brian Donohue

bdonohue@uw.edu 206.543.7856

The head and neck surgeons at UW Oto acquired a new single port da Vinci robotic system in early 2021 and have been thrilled to offer this minimally invasive, cutting-edge technology to patients. While the H&N program has long been the first and highest volume program for transoral robotic surgery (TORS) of oropharyngeal cancers in the Northwest, adding this robotic-assist system, which was adapted specifically for head and neck procedures, will help us treat even more patients. The surgery team has been able to treat 36% more patients in early 2021 compared with the same period in 2019.

Historically the team used a robotic device originally designed for operations to the chest and abdomen. With the addition of the da Vinci robotic system, both patients and surgeons are seeing the perks. Former UW Otolaryngology-HNS associate professor Jeff Houlton explains in a video:

“If you think about laparoscopic surgery in the belly area, robotics provides the advantage of multiple mechanical arms approaching from different angles,” says Houlton. “But it’s a challenge to have three robotic arms that all need to go through a patient’s mouth. With this machine, the three arms are designed to come through one garden hose-like entry port and then articulate out from there.”