Precision head and neck surgery: robotics and surgical vision technology

Floyd Christopher Holsinger, Andrew C. Birkeland, Michael C. Topf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: As the molecular basis of head and neck cancer becomes more clearly defined, precision medicine has gradually refined the multidisciplinary treatment paradigm for patients with oropharyngeal cancer. Although precision medicine is often thought to refer to new molecular diagnostics or unique medical therapy, the recent adoption of robotic surgery has ushered in the era of 'precision' head and neck surgery. RECENT FINDINGS: Surgeons now routinely utilize a virtual reality environment to reduce the morbidity of head and neck surgical care and improve oncologic and functional outcomes. The development and subsequent FDA approval of the da Vinci SP system, a single-arm system with a flexible camera, has allowed for improved visualization and access to the deep oropharynx and larynx. Groups investigating anti-EGFR antibodies tagged with fluorescent dye as well as inherent autofluorescence differences between normal and cancerous mucosal tissues show promise for improving positive surgical margin rates. SUMMARY: The evolution of robotics and visualization for oropharyngeal cancer represents a novel and innovative utilization of new technology to improve care. Further advancements in techniques, from refinement of the robotic platform itself, to novel real-time tumour imaging options will be critical to further advance precision care for these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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