Search News

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - New Sparrow procedure is breakthrough for throat, mouth cancer patients

LANSING, Mich. – A new robotic procedure at Sparrow could vastly improve the quality of life and recovery time for patients who suffer from throat and mouth cancers.

Click here to see videos about the procedure

An Elsie man is an example of how successful trans-oral robotic surgery can be.

Lynwood Egbert, 76, swore he would never go through the difficult struggle his late wife did in battling cancer. Egbert had trans-oral robotic surgery in May to remove a tumor from his tongue.

"This was very easy," he said. "There was relatively no pain."

Sparrow is the only hospital in mid-Michigan to boast the procedure, which is performed by Sparrow and Michigan State University Health Team physician Barry Wenig, M.D., director of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at MSU.

During the procedure, Dr. Wenig – sitting at a console a few feet from the operating table – uses his hands and feet to manipulate the arms of a robotic instrument in the patient's mouth and throat. A video screen allows the physician to get a more precise look at the patient's tumor, and the robotic equipment permits easier access and removal of the tumor than traditional methods.

The procedure also requires a much smaller incision than the traditional approach, which usually involves a large incision of the jaw and a far greater recovery time and impact on the patient's ability to speak.

Throat and mouth cancers are on the rise, in part because of an increase in a virus called HPV.

"This approach is very effective and can minimize the patient's discomfort after the surgery," Dr. Wenig said. "The instrumentation that's been developed for this can expose the area around the tumor far greater than any other magnification used in surgery."

Sparrow on Twitter

Fire up the grill this weekend and keep it healthy with this beef and vegetable kebab recipe!

Heading out to the lake this weekend? Keep these water safety tips in mind:

Videos on SparrowTV

Sparrow celebrates anniversary with Mayo Clinic Care Network and expands relationship’s reach. Click here to watch.

Sparrow earns elite status with its redesignation as a Magnet Hospital for nursing excellence. Click here to watch. 

Sparrow RSS

Connect with us

Connect with us online for the latest on Sparrow, our Patients, Caregivers and the mid-Michigan community.