Transoral robotic surgery for oropharyngeal and tongue cancer in the united states

Thomas K. Chung, Eben L. Rosenthal, J. Scott Magnuson, William R. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To compare the clinical and cost outcomes of transoral robotic surgery (TORS) versus open procedures following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in December 2009.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 2008 to 2011.

Methods: Elective partial pharyngectomies and partial glossectomies for neoplasm were identified by International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification code.

Results: TORS represented 2.1% in 2010 and 2.2% in 2011 of all transoral ablative procedures. Patients undergoing open partial pharyngectomy for oropharyngeal neoplasms (n51426) had more severe illness compared to TORS (n5641). However, after controlling for minor-to-moderate severity of illness, open partial pharyngectomy was associated with longer hospital stay (5.2 vs. 3.7 days, P<0.001), higher charge ($98,228 vs. $67,317, P<0.001), higher cost ($29,365 vs. $20,706, P<0.001), higher rates of tracheostomy and gastrostomy tube placement, and more wound and bleeding complications. TORS was associated with a higher rate of dysphagia (19.5% vs. 8.0%, P<0.001). The lower cost of TORS remained significant in the major-to-extreme severity of illness group but was associated with higher complication rates when compared to open cases of the same severity of illness. A similar analysis of TORS partial glossectomy for base of tongue tumors had similar cost and length of stay benefits, whereas TORS partial glossectomy for anterior tongue tumors revealed longer hospital stays and no benefit in charge or cost compared to open.

Conclusions: Early data demonstrate a clinical and cost benefit in TORS partial pharyngectomy and partial glossectomy for the base of tongue but no benefit in partial glossectomy of the anterior tongue. It is likely that anatomic accessibility and extent of surgery factor into the effectiveness of TORS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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