Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical usefulness of TORS and transoral robotic retropharyngeal lymph node (RPLN) dissection in tonsillar cancer patients with suspicious RPLN metastasis. Methods: From April 2008 to March 2014, 71 patients with tonsillar cancer underwent transoral robotic surgery and standard neck dissection at the Yonsei Head and Neck Cancer Center. Results: Three patients underwent transoral robotic ropharyngectomy with transoral robotic RPLN dissection because of suspicious RPLN metastasis. The mean age of the patients was 42 years (range, 31-50 years). There were no cases of wound infection or serious complications related to wound healing. Mild nasal regurgitation was observed during an oral diet immediately after surgery, but all patients spontaneously resolved without surgical treatment. There was no significant bleeding due to great vessel injury during surgery or swallowing difficulty due to cranial nerve IX injury. Conclusion: Although the oncologic stability and usefulness of this technique should be confirmed based on large-scale research, RPLN can be easily accessed and resected through our approach with less morbidity compared to the conventional surgical approach. In addition, because RPLN metastasis can be performed pathologically based on obtained specimens, it will be helpful to explore whether to perform adjuvant radiation.
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