Comparative analysis of resection tools suited for transoral robot-assisted surgery

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 May;271(5):1207-13. doi: 10.1007/s00405-013-2615-9. Epub 2013 Jul 12.


Introduction of transoral robot-assisted surgery (TORS) has a strong potential to facilitate surgical therapy of head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) by decreasing the indication for an external surgical approach. However, the availability of resection tools is limited and comparative studies in the context of TORS are not available. In the context of the newest da Vinci Si HD(®) robotic system, various dissection methods were compared in a surgical animal model using porcine tongue at three different sites representing mucosal, muscular and lymphatic tissue. Resection methods included (a) CO2 laser tube, (b) flexible fiber Tm:YAG laser, (c) monopolar blade, and (d) radio frequency (RF) needle. Specimens were formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, cut, and stained with haematoxylin-eosin. Dissected tissue was examined for the width of the incision as well as the individual coagulation zone of each tool at various tissue sites. In addition, instrument costs and performance were determined. The incisions made by the RF needle had the most favourable cutting width and also smaller coagulation defects, as opposed to other tools, granting the best preservation of tumour-adjacent structures and improved pathological assessment. Instrument performance was best evaluated for CO2 laser and RF needle, whereas financial expenses were lowest for RF needle and monopolar blade. Improvement and modification of resection tools for TORS become a relevant criterion in order to facilitate routine usage in the surgical therapy of HNSCC. A consequent decrease in surgical mortality and improved precision of surgical tumour resection could lead to a significant clinical growth potential of TORS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation / instrumentation
  • Endoscopy / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use
  • Needles
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Surgical Equipment*
  • Surgical Instruments*
  • Swine
  • Tongue / pathology
  • Tongue / surgery