Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS)

At Cedars-Sinai, you have access to specialized treatments that are not widely available. We are among the few programs in the area offering transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for cancers in the back of the throat.

This technique uses sophisticated surgical technology to remove cancers in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth and throat. Our surgeons have years of TORS experience, so you can count on us for outstanding results. And you can expect to get back to your everyday activities in as little as two weeks.

What Is Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS)?

Traditional techniques for removing cancers in the back of the throat require large incisions because these areas are difficult to reach. Surgeons may also have to dislocate your jaw or disrupt healthy tissue during traditional procedures, causing side effects that can take months to recover from.

With TORS, we access the surgical area using tiny instruments we insert through your mouth. We control the instruments with advanced technology that offers greater flexibility and precision than a surgeon's hands.

Patients who undergo TORS experience less scarring and a shorter hospital stay. Many people can speak and swallow without difficulty shortly after the procedure.

TORS may be right for you if you have:

  • Base of tongue cancer
  • Tonsil cancer, which forms in a section of tissue at the back of your throat

Our Approach to TORS

At Cedars-Sinai, your care reflects the recommendations of leading head and neck cancer experts. Our doctors are nationally renowned specialists who conduct research that is advancing head and neck cancer care.

Highlights of our program include:

Expertise

Our team includes surgeons with additional (fellowship) training in head and neck cancer procedures, including TORS. This level of training ensures we achieve the best possible results.

Best Available Technology

We are among the first programs in the L.A. area using new robotic technology for TORS. Instead of sliding three instruments down your throat, we perform the procedure with one. The instrument has three small tools at the tip. The slimmer profile of this technology means less disruption to healthy tissue and more precise movements.

Team Approach

Our surgeons works alongside other head and neck cancer experts to plan your procedure. Neuroradiologists and head and neck pathologists interpret test results to identify the precise shape and type of cancer. This information increases the chances of completely removing the cancer. Find out more about our head and neck cancer tumor board.

Support

We offer a range of support services that make your life a little less stressful during treatment. Our offerings include psychologists and social workers who provide emotional support. We also help you solve practical problems, such as finding transportation to and from appointments. Read more about supportive care and survivorship for head and neck cancer.

TORS for Tongue Cancer and Tonsil Cancer: What to Expect

Here's what to expect during a TORS procedure:

  1. We give you medication (anesthesia), so you go to sleep during the procedure. 
  2. We place surgical tools and a tiny camera in your mouth, sliding it down your throat if necessary.
  3. The surgeon sits at a computer console that provides a magnified, 3D view of the surgical area. 
  4. Hand controls allow the surgeon to maneuver the tools and remove the cancer. The surgeon remains in control of the tools at all times.  
  5. After removing the cancer, stitches may not be necessary. The robotic tools allow precise movements that minimize bleeding and damage to nearby tissue.

Treatments and Therapies After TORS

People who undergo TORS avoid many of the side effects of open surgery, including difficulty swallowing. Many people make a full recovery in a few weeks and don't require other therapies to resume everyday activities.

You may receive additional treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy, to eliminate trace amounts of cancer after TORS. These therapies also lower the risk of the cancer coming back. You may receive a lower dose or fewer treatments compared to people who undergo traditional open surgery.

Have Questions or Need Help?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call or send a message to the Head and Neck Cancer care team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Pacific Time (U.S.)
Available 24 hours a day

(1-800-233-2771)