Minimally-invasive Transoral Laser Micro-Surgery
This new technique, originating in Europe, has revolutionized the surgical approach for select mouth and throat cancers. Head and neck surgeons acess the cancer with specialized endoscopic instruments through the natural orifice (the mouth). Using a variety of lasers, they carve out the cancer while preserving surrounding normal tissue.
Many patients no longer require the complex and often debilitating open surgeries traditionally used for mouth and throat cancers, while others can opt for this technique to avoid radiation and its inherent side-effects. With this new approach, patients recover faster, often swallowing and speaking on the first day after surgery. This is in stark contrast to traditional open surgeries or radiation therapy, when patients often are feeding-tube dependent and need tracheotomies to help them breathe.
Swedish has pioneered this new approach in the Pacific Northwest to bring the best outcome possible to head and neck cancer patients. Our surgeons have access to the latest endoscopic instrumentation and bleeding-edge lasers, such as the flexible carbon-dioxide lasers (OmniGuideTM).
Using TLM requires the specialized expertise of pathologists, who direct surgeons to the exact location of the cancerous tumor. Our specialists work in teams to pinpoint these cancers and extract all the cancer cells to provide the best oncologic long-term safety.