Methodist Hospital
December 07, 2021

For nearly 10 years, Head and Neck Surgical Oncologists at Methodist Hospital have been robotically treating patients with malignant and benign conditions of the throat, tonsils and tongue, using a specialized and advanced technology only available in select areas of the country. Methodist Hospital recently adopted the newest edition to its acclaimed robotic fleet, the “SP”, also known as single port. Methodist Hospital is the first hospital in South Texas to welcome this advanced technology, and with a track record of robotic surgical excellence, Methodist Hospital’s Head and Neck Surgical Oncologists are among some of the most experienced in the state at performing these cases.

The new single port robot is specifically designed for head and neck surgery as well as certain urology cases to provide exposure through a single port. The device is equipped with enhanced instrumentation, camera angles and a new design which enables better maneuverability and visibility and allows physicians to reach places in the mouth and throat that may have been inaccessible or very difficult to access with conventional robotic systems. Whereas previous generation robots used three separate rigid arms through three separate ports, a tight fit for a patient’s mouth and throat, the single port is ideally suited for minimally invasive surgery through a single port using flexible instruments. This will provide more patients the option of curative surgical intervention and, in many instances, allow patients to avoid the risks and exposure of other therapies.

Head and Neck Surgical Oncologists perform these procedures by navigating the robot on a console near the patient, controlling instruments precisely. The surgeon is also simultaneously able to operate a camera with magnified, high-definition 3-D imaging to allow for a 360-degree rotation and full surgical area view.

“The SP is going to allow us access to more tumors than we had before and give more patients surgical options and, in the end, better patient outcomes,” commented Nathan Hales, MD, Director of Head and Neck Surgery / Transoral Robotic Surgery Program at Methodist Hospital. “The instruments allow us to do more in smaller areas and ultimately help more people.”

Transoral robotic surgery provides for a faster recovery and return to swallowing, less pain, and a shorter hospital stay for patients than conventional open methods. Single port technology and its increased flexibility for head and neck tumors will provide more patients this opportunity.