Background. Recently, robot-assisted neck dissection in thyroid cancer patients with lateral neck node metastasis has been demonstrated to be feasible. We realized the necessity of technical modification in order to apply robotic system to comprehensive neck dissection for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. This study examined the feasibility and safety of transaxillary and retroauricular ("TARA") approach for robotic neck dissection in patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer. Methods. Four human cadaveric dissections were followed by robotic neck dissections in seven patients with oral cavity or laryngopharyngeal cancer through TARA incision. Results. In all cases, vital structures including major vessels and nerves were preserved. The numbers of retrieved lymph nodes in robotic neck dissections were comparable with those in conventional neck dissections. Conclusions. Robotic neck dissection via TARA approach is a feasible and useful method with excellent cosmetic results for treating nodal metastasis in selected cases of head and neck squamous cell cancer.
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