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Minimally Invasive Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

Minimally invasive surgical techniques minimize the trauma of more traditional surgery, allow for a faster recovery, and help our patients avoid longer hospitalizations. Many head and neck tumors can be removed using minimally invasive surgery, and our surgeons will recommend this type of surgery whenever it is appropriate for the patient.

During minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon makes one or more tiny incisions to insert a tube called an endoscope. Miniature video cameras and specially designed surgical instruments can then be inserted through the tube or tubes to allow the surgeon to perform the procedure without ever making a large incision.

In addition to removing the primary tumor in the head and neck, the surgeon may need to remove some or all of the lymph nodes in the neck (a neck dissection) to examine them for cancer cells and determine if the cancer has spread. We utilize the latest surgical techniques to remove these lymph nodes while sparing important nerves.

Depending on the extent and the location of the cancer, reconstructive surgery might be necessary following the cancer treatment. Patients might have reconstructive surgery to restore appearance or to help them improve such functions as chewing, swallowing or speaking.

At the Maimonides Cancer Center, our head and neck cancer specialists collaborate closely with plastic surgeons as part of the overall treatment planning. Experts at performing sophisticated reconstructions of the head and neck, our plastic surgeons have extensive experience in microvascular free-flap reconstruction, in which tissue from another part of the body (such as the back or abdomen) is used to replace part of the scalp, neck, tongue or throat.