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Karmanos Cancer Center Surgeon is Michigan's First to Perform Transoral Robotic Surgery on Patients
Date:5/12/2010

ally recommend radiation or chemoradiation as the first line of treatment.

"Da Vinci is really making a big difference."

Spears noted that his health has mostly been great even though he had smoked since he was 14. He gave up smoking cigarettes when he was 49 and moved to a pipe.

It was only when he experienced a persistent sore throat starting in March of last year that he suspected something was wrong. As a retired sergeant first class of the Army, he visited the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center Emergency Room in Detroit and was diagnosed in October with cancer of the tonsils, the lymph nodes and the parathyroid. Doctors also discovered a large tumor on the base of his tongue.

People who are diagnosed with head and neck cancer, like Spears, typically have to prepare for major, invasive surgery that may require a surgeon to make long incisions through the jaw and throat to gain access to the oral cavity.

In Spears' case, Dr. Lin would have had to split his chin and break his jaw to perform the radical tonsillectomy, the tumor resection on his tongue, the removal of four teeth and surgery on the roof of his mouth – the sort of surgery that often results in facial disfigurement and difficulty eating, speaking and swallowing.

"With the old way of performing surgery, it's pretty hard to operate on the patient," Dr. Lin said.

With da Vinci, the same procedure takes only one or two hours. The da Vinci® Surgical System is a surgeon-guided robotic system that allows the doctor to perform the surgery through the mouth without the need for any external incision. The tiny robotic surgical instruments placed inside the mouth follow the exact movement of the surgeon's fingers and hand to execute precise and del
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SOURCE Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
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