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TORS: What to Expect

Prior to Surgery

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications/vitamins/herbs you are taking as you may need to stop certain ones before surgery.
  • Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners one week prior to surgery.
  • Discontinue any diet medications or St. John's Wort two weeks before surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have
  • The day before surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • Plan on spending three to five nights in the hospital after TORS (one to two nights if you have a neck dissection.)
  • You will have a nose to stomach feeding tube, which will be removed quickly after you been able to achieve good swallowing function. Follow the advice of your ENT as to what foods and drink may be taken by mouth after tube removal.
  • Walking is encouraged, based on your energy level.
  • No heavy lifting for at least four weeks.
  • Avoid stress

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks

The recovery time following TORS is significantly shorter and has fewer side effects than traditional open surgery. Most patients will be fully recovered in two weeks and can resume some normal activities, such as driving, walking and some duties at work. This will vary based on the extent of your surgery and expected healing time. Talk to your physician about what to expect.

Trans Oral Robotic Surgery Q&A

Who can have Trans Oral Robotic surgery?

Most patients who have benign and malignant tumors of the mouth and neck are candidates for this surgery. These patients include those with small- to medium-sized tumors of the tonsil, soft palate and base of tongue. Some patients with larger tumors or requiring more extensive surgery may not be candidates for TORS.

How long will I have to have a swallowing tube?

This depends on the patient and how quickly they recover. It varies with each patient, but typically most patients are able to have their swallowing tube removed before being discharged from the hospital. Others may have to keep the tube in place for a longer period of time to receive adequate nutrition.

If you have to have go home with a feeding tube, you and your family members will be trained in how to maintain the tube. In most cases, the tube is removed in less than two weeks.

If I have a malignant tumor, will I have to have radiation treatments or chemotherapy following surgery?

This is determined if there are any cancer cells found in the lymph nodes (through neck resection). Even if your ENT decides that you need additional treatment, it will most likely be decreased in intensity since the major site of the cancer has been removed through TORS.

Find a doctor specializing in TORS by calling 919-350-8900.