Surgeons at Baptist Health performing oral pharyngectomies -- or mouth surgery -- can now use a Davinci machine to minimize complications -- while maximizing positive results.
Stacey Davis said it’s a tool she wishes her grandmother had access to after her throat cancer diagnosis.
“She had multiple, multiple surgeries, neck dissections, she ended up having to have a feeding tube," Davis said.
The robotic Davinci machine helps patients by operating from inside a person’s esophagus.
The machine extracts tumors from inside a person’s mouth, whereas traditional surgery requires a surgeon to cut from the outside of a patient.
Dr. Russell Smith, a head and neck surgical oncologist at Baptist Health said, “If we cut through the muscles to get to the throat from the outside, that causes a lot of complications for the patients.”
Complications include bleeding, deformities, more traumatized tissue, etc.
The new treatment has a 90 percent curative rate.
It comes at an important time because studies show HPV-related head and neck cancer is on the rise.
Cancer cells in the head or neck can sometimes travel to other organs and grow there.
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