What are the Advantages of TORS?

Man in need of TORS

What are the Advantages of Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS)?

Before the onset of robotic surgery, patients who had tumors in the soft palate, the base of the tongue, throat, and the tonsils had to undergo a 10-12 hour open surgery that required a large incision and cutting of the bottom jaw so the surgeon could gain access to it. Hospital stays were long and recovery would take many weeks.

However, after many years of research, advances in surgical equipment have made it possible for head and neck surgeons to effortlessly identify and remove these tumors by using robotic technology and other minimally invasive techniques. As with all advanced surgical procedures, TORS offers a myriad of benefits to patients.

What Exactly Is TORS?

Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) is an innovative, less invasive surgical procedure that employs robotic technology, high definition 3D visualization, and miniature instruments that enable neck and head surgeons to remove benign and malignant tumors in the back of the mouth and throat.

Why Is Transoral Robotic Surgery Performed?

The TORS procedure is performed to treat a number of conditions of the head and neck including select cancers and sleep disorders. Some of the most common conditions include:

  • Oropharyngeal (tonsil and base of tongue) tumors
  • Laryngeal supraglottic cancer
  • Pharyngeal cancer
  • Skull base tumors
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) negative tumors
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Chronic snoring connected to sleep apnea and

What Does Transoral Robotic Surgery Involve?

Unlike open surgery, where a surgeon had to make a long incision through the throat and jaw to get to the tumor, no external incision is needed for TORS. Instead, the slender robotic arms and miniature tools used in robotic surgery are guided to the tumor site through the mouth. There are four arms. One of these arms is fitted with a high-resolution 3-D camera and the remainder act as the surgeon's arms each holding a different instrument depending on the task at hand.

The 3-D camera provides the surgeon with an enhanced field of view and greater accuracy in difficult to reach areas such as the back of the tongue. The robotic hands, on the other hand, allow a range of movement that could otherwise not be achieved by the human hand. This improved visualization, accuracy, and skillfulness offers significant advantages, especially when operating difficult to reach areas thereby avoiding injury and causing minimal disruption to surrounding tissue.

The competencies of this procedure are further enhanced by the surgeon’s operating console that has exceptional ergonomics that aid in easing the surgeon’s fatigue and state-of-the-art controls that allow steady movements that would otherwise not be achieved naturally by hand.

What Are the Advantages of Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS?)

Apart from providing the surgeon with spectacular visibility, mobility, and accuracy, TORS offers patients significant benefits.

Benefits of TORS for Head and Neck Cancers:

  • No visible scars or disfigurement: Since the procedure is conducted entirely through the mouth, no scars are visible. For neck cancer patients, a second surgery may be necessary to eliminate lymph nodes. This will not require an incision and scarring is minimal.
  • Shorter hospital stay: Compared to open surgery where a patient has to wait for more than seven days to be discharged, TORS patients recover quickly and can leave the hospital two or four days after the procedure.
  • Improved speech: As opposed to traditional surgery, with robotic surgery, nearly all patients recover their normal speech.
  • Minimal need for chemoradiation therapy for early stage cancers: With TORS, the radiation doses that are recommended are lower than if the cancer is treated using non-surgical methods. This lessens the risk of hurting the swallow muscles and nerves of the throat.
  • Fewer complications and risks of infection
  • Minimal post-surgical pain and medication
  • Less blood loss compared to traditional invasive surgery
  • No need for tracheotomy

Benefits of TORS for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Transoral Robotic Surgery for obstructive sleep apnea is a fresh approach to curing a condition that is caused by excessive tongue base tissue, enlarged tonsils, and excessive soft palate tissue. These growths obstruct airflow during sleep causing snoring. One treatment option for this condition is through the removal of excessive tissue using TORS.


  • It is less invasive and can access and remove the obstructing tissues in areas where traditional sleep apnea surgeries cannot
  • Effective and enduring reprieve from airway obstruction
  • No need for CPAP mask
  • Minimal post-surgery discomfort
  • There is no visible or invasive scarring
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activities.

Transoral Robotic Surgery in South Alabama

ENT Centers of Excellence offers Transoral Robotic Surgery and various support services. In addition, you will be scheduled for several follow-up services with Dr. Keith Kowal to monitor your progress. To learn more about TORS and whether you are a possible candidate, call us at 251.943.1117 and book your appointment.



Request an


We look forward to serving you. If you are already a patient and have a medical question or medication refill request, please call our office or log onto our secure portal.

Thank You! Someone from our office will be in touch with you shortly.