New robot treats increasingly common cancer

Doctors are seeing an upward trend in head and neck cancers related to human papillomavirus (HPV). A reconfigured robotic-assist device will make it possible to treat more of these patients with surgery. Dr. Jeffrey Houlton, a head-and-neck surgeon at UW Medical Center, explains that the tool's new design allows all of the instrutments involved in tumor-removal to go through one "port" that fits easily in the patient's mouth.

"The advantage of the robot is a lot of patients we can treat with just surgery alone now without a big open surgery. In the vast majority of our patients, they are able to get less radiation and usually avoid chemotherapy," Houlton says.

Before the new device was installed, head-and-neck surgeons used a robotic-assist device designed for chest and abdominal procedures.

See our related blog post.

UW Medicine