Following the inception of transoral robotic surgery (TORS) in 2005, the field of robotic head and neck surgery has undergone refinement and innovation. Optimizing patient outcome, preserving function, and limiting morbidity are the key drivers. The next leap forward is another generation of flexible robotic surgical systems. Several such systems are under clinical and preclinical evaluation. A new single-port (Sp) robotic surgical architecture is now available integrating three fully articulating instruments and a flexible three-dimensional high-definition camera delivered through a 25-mm cannula. Preclinical feasibility studies of the Sp in human cadaver and porcine models suggest improved application compared to existing platforms for oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal resection. With 3-handed manipulation of tissue, traction and countertraction may be used to deliver a more precise surgical dissection of head and neck anatomy than is currently possible. The single-port design permits greater access and maneuverability for the bedside surgical assistant. An alternative currently available in clinical use includes the Flex system using a robotic camera and manually controlled endoscopic instruments. The Cambridge Medical Robotics Versius system is undergoing preclinical evaluation for TORS and may offer a novel modular approach. All of these systems allow the head and neck surgeon to reach further beyond the upper aerodigestive tract with greater agility and precision, expanding the boundaries of minimal access head and neck surgery.
View details for PubMedID 30404095