Scotland: Robot performs throat cancer surgery for first time

Throat cancer surgery was carried out for the first time by a robot at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on Monday, the pioneering Transoral Robotic surgery (TORS) technique.
Use of the robot allows the surgeon to perform highly precise surgery, enabling movements in tiny spaces and with the capability to gain access to areas in the throat previously only possible with open procedures. Using a remote console, that doesn’t have to be in the same room or even the same hospital, the operator guides the surgical tools whilst surgeons and nursess support the operation from the patient’s bedside.
The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde hopes to perform around 30 operations in the first year, with the current aim being the removal of cancerous tumours with the procedure likely to extend into other types of surgical procedures in time.
After six months of intensive training period, Ms Jenny Montgomery and Mr Stuart Robertson, Consultants in ENT Head and Neck Surgery at QEUH, performed the first operation.
Ms Montgomery said: “Traditionally this type of surgery would normally be accessed by opening up a patients jaw or neck which is more invasive and has recovery issues such as difficulty swallowing.
“With TORS we’re able avoid going in through that route, and as such patients have better function of their throat afterwards. Carefully selected patients may be able to avoid radiotherapy altogether.
“We hope that TORS will play a crucial role in complementing existing treatments in helping improve patient outcomes within Scotland.”

Image: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Ms Jenny Montgomery as the TRS Controller

Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, added: “Robotic equipment allows for more precise and less invasive surgeries, easing pressure on surgeons with shorter procedures that are less physically demanding – and ultimately improving patient outcomes.
“Scottish Government investment of around £20 million in this state-of-the-art technology continues to be rolled out across the country, taking the total number in use to 13.
“This first Transoral Robotic surgery is a welcome achievement for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, particularly in light of World Cancer Day today, and shows the innovations we are putting into practice across Scotland to make a real difference to the lives of those being treated for cancer.”
With the successful surgery carried out in Scotland using a robot, recovery from throat cancer and other operations will be greatly improved.

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]