Loma Linda University Health has been leading the way in robotic surgery since 2011, providing our patients with minimally invasive, surgeon-directed, robotic-assisted surgeries using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System. Today, surgeons at Loma Linda University Health do more successful robotic surgeries each year than any other teaching hospital west of the Mississippi.

FAQs about Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery

What Is Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS)?

Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS) is the most advanced surgical treatment of tumors of the mouth and throat. TORS is minimally invasive and performed via direct access through the mouth. It provides our surgeons with a close-up high definition view, precision and control. The robotic surgery system can’t work without a surgeon controlling it, and it can’t make decisions on its own.

What Is TORS Used For?

TORS has been used in many different ways in head and neck (ENT) surgery, but most often, robotic surgery is used for tumors of the throat. TORS has been very useful in treating Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) related throat cancers.

What Happens During the TORS Procedure?

An extremely thin tube with a tiny camera and light at the end of the instrument - called a laparoscope - is inserted through the mouth and throat. Sitting at a nearby console, the surgeon can clearly and easily see everything in high definition. From the console, the surgeon controls the robot's every movement. Guided robotic hands imitate the surgeon's exact movements, moving more precisely than a human hand.

TORS is the best technology available today, and our surgeons have years of experience with TORS procedures.

What Are the Benefits of TORS?

Besides being minimally invasive, use of TORS may reduce or remove the need for radiation as the first treatment for early throat cancers, or it may allow for a lower dosage of radiation and chemotherapy.

Use of the da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System greatly reduces the need for reconstructive surgery, and there is no need for blood donation. And because the da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System precisely removes the entire tumor without damaging the tissue around it, there is a reduced need for additional treatment.

Patients have better outcomes because they have:

  • Less pain
  • No visible scars
  • Less bleeding
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery
  • Less risk of infection
  • Reduced need for additional treatment

​Why Put Your Trust In Loma Linda University Surgical Hospital?

The surgeons at Loma Linda University Health have years of diagnostic and surgical experience working with the da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System.

Our surgeons are:

  • Trans-oral robotic surgery experts
  • Highly skilled surgeons
  • Leaders in their field
  • Compassionate caregivers
  • Providers of whole person health care

Working from our mission "to make man whole," these surgeons use robotic surgery as part of a treatment plan that moves beyond symptoms and looks to provide whole person health care-offering solutions for body, mind and spirit.

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Becoming a Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS) Patient

Because a primary care physician cannot determine the need for Trans-Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS), you must ask your primary physician for a referral to our head and neck cancer department. Once you decide to have robotic surgery, our team will help you every step of the way. We will guide you through the pre-op process to make your experience as easy as possible.

At Loma Linda University Health, our Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery Center team works with you to so you will have the best possible outcome. Our medical team is made up of many world-class specialists and we are committed to addressing all of your health needs, including general fitness, cardiovascular health, quitting smoking and weight loss.

Our research has shown that by evaluating your overall health, your oral cancer survival rates are greatly improved.

What To Expect Prior To TORS Surgery

2-Weeks Before Surgery We Will Complete

  • Pre-operative testing
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG Electrocardiogram to measure the electrical activity of the heartbeat
  • Biochemistry profile to measure a variety of chemicals and enzymes in the blood including electrolytes, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine blood work
  • A test to check your Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • PTT, a Partial Thromboplastin Time, which is a blood test to measure how long it takes for the blood to clot (PT)

10 Days Before Surgery

To reduce the risk of excessive bleeding, stop taking

  • Aspirin or aspiring products
  • Motrin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Coumadin, Warfarin or Plavix *
  • Gingko biloba
  • Garlic
  • Ginseng
  • Fish Oil
  • Dong quai
  • Feverfew
  • Vitamin E

To reduce cardiovascular risk, stop taking

  • Ephedra
  • Garlic

To avoid complications with anesthesia, stop taking

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Valerian Root
  • Kava

To avoid drug interactions, stop taking

  • Licorice
  • St. John’s wort
  • Kava
  • Valerian
  • Echinacea
  • Goldenseal

* You must talk to your doctor before you stop taking Coumadin, Warfarin or Plavix

Important Note: This list may not be complete. Therefore, if you’re taking anything else not included on this list, you must talk to your doctor about it at least two (2) weeks prior to your surgery.