Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) has emerged as a technique that allows head and neck surgeons to safely resect large and complex oropharyngeal tumors without dividing the mandible or performing a lip-split incision. These resections provide a reconstructive challenge because the cylinder of the oropharynx remains closed and both physical access and visualization of oropharyngeal anatomy is severely restricted. Transoral robotic reconstruction (TORRS) of such defects allows the reconstructive surgeon to inset free flaps or perform adjacent tissue transfer while seeing what the resecting surgeon sees. Early experience with this technique has proved feasible and effective. Robotic reconstruction has many distinct advantages over conventional surgery, and offers patients a less morbid surgical course. In this review, we discuss the clinical applicability of transoral robotic surgery in head and neck reconstruction, highlighting the benefits and limitations of such an approach, and outlining the guidelines for its utilization.
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