Leading-Edge Surgical Approaches for Head and Neck Cancers
Both traditional and minimally invasive surgical approaches can be effective in treating head and neck cancers, and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin offers every surgical option available.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Minimally invasive procedures use smaller incisions and sometimes video-assisted techniques to remove head and neck tumors. Minimally invasive procedures can lead to shorter recovery times, less pain, fewer complications and better outcomes for many patients.
Our surgeons also have the skills and experience to make these smaller incisions difficult to detect. In some cases of parotid tumors, for example, the surgeon can hide an incision behind the hair line.
Another advanced approach involves benign tumors in the submandibular gland, one of the major salivary glands. In cases where a benign tumor in the submandibular gland is small enough, it can be surgically removed through the patient’s mouth rather than from the outside.
Transoral Laser Microsurgery (TLM)
Surgery to treat certain larynx tumors can also be done through the mouth, using a microscope and a laser. Called transoral laser microsurgery or TLM, this important new procedure can sometimes take the place of chemotherapy and radiation in treating early stage larynx cancer. TLM, sometimes called endoscopic partial laryngectomy, means surgeons don’t have to work from the outside, and the larynx doesn’t have to be taken apart and put back together, which can cause swelling and other side effects.
TLM can be performed as an alternative to radiotherapy or, in some cases, it can be an option for patients who fail radiation. It’s a minimally invasive procedure aimed at preserving the larynx, helping patients retain their swallowing and speech functions, and help patients avoid the need for a feeding tube and other possible side effects.