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    Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) approach for the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer allows for reduced patient morbidity, amongst other advantages over the traditional lip-splitting mandibulotomy method. Free-flap reconstruction is commonly utilized in head and neck cancer surgeries; however, safety and outcomes of this technique in TORS procedures have not been well studied. The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TORS with free-flap reconstruction (TORS-FFR) for oropharyngeal cancer. A systematic search of Scopus, EMBASE, CINAHL and PubMed databases was completed. Following PRISMA guidelines, case series/reports, retrospective and prospective cohort studies were included. Primary outcomes measured were deaths and complication rates associated with TORS-FFR for oropharyngeal cancers. Secondary outcomes included functional swallowing and airway outcomes, operative time and length of hospital stay. Twenty-one studies met the inclusion criteria comprising a total of 132 patients. The mean patient age was 58.4 years. The most frequent complication was infection (8.9%) followed by flap wound dehiscence (4.2%). The average total operative time was 710 min (n = 48), while average length of hospital stay was 13.5 days (n = 48). Reconstructions were most commonly fashioned from radial forearm free flaps (RFFF), with anterolateral thigh flaps (ALT) representing the second most common free-flap subtype. TORS-FFR procedures for oropharyngeal cancer are safe, with low serious complication rates. This surgical approach may be associated with decreased length of hospital stay; however, further studies are required to better characterize post-operative outcomes.Level of evidence 1a. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


    Damon Monroe, Justin M Pyne, Steffane McLennan, Ryan Kimmis, Jenny Yoon, Vincent L Biron. Characteristics and outcomes of transoral robotic surgery with free-flap reconstruction for oropharyngeal cancer: a systematic review. Journal of robotic surgery. 2023 Aug;17(4):1287-1297

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    PMID: 36964850

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