Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

The Head and Neck and Reconstructive surgeons at Virginia Mason provide state-of-the-art organ preservation and reconstruction to minimize the functional and cosmetic impacts of treatment. They are board-certified and fellowship-trained and work with other physicians to provide the latest treatments that include conserving laser endoscopic surgery, extended conservation laryngeal surgeries, skull base surgery, advanced microvascular reconstructive techniques, facial plastic surgeries and radiation oncology and medical oncology.

Endoscopic Laser Resection of Head and Neck Cancer
Many tumors, particularly those of the larynx (voice box) and pharynx (throat) that had traditionally required large operations, can now be removed through a scope without incisions on the neck. This can minimize the impact of surgery and reduce recovery time.

Extended Conserving Laryngeal Surgeries
Larger tumors of the voice box that traditionally required removal of the entire voice box may now be amenable to creative reconstructive techniques not available at all institutions. Even if surgery must be performed, surgeons can now use the latest techniques in extended partial laryngeal removal, such as supracricoid laryngectomy, and microvascular reconstructive techniques, to preserve function of the voice box.

Skull Base Surgery
Benign and cancerous tumors that bridge from the brain through the base of the skull require special expertise combining the talents of neurosurgeons and head and neck surgeons. All aspects of skull base surgery are available at Virginia Mason. Tumors may now be addressed using endoscopic approaches that limit the impact to patients.

TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS)
For patients with benign or malignant tumors of the mouth and throat, TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS), performed at Virginia Mason's Hospital & Seattle Medical Center, provides a minimally invasive, virtually scarless treatment. This surgery uses miniaturized robotic tools inserted through the mouth to reach tumors of the voice box, tonsils, base of the tongue and other areas of the throat. 

Advanced Microvascular Reconstruction
The impact of surgery on the head and neck has been improved greatly by the ability to borrow tissue from virtually any area of the body (free flaps) to closely approximate the tissues removed. Tissue is removed along with an artery and vein that supply blood to the tissue. These millimeter-size vessels are then sewn into the neck to re-establish blood flow and allow maximum flexibility.

Facial Plastic Surgery
The Facial Plastic Surgery surgeons at Virginia Mason offer the latest techniques in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. They are fellowship trained and accomplished in all aspects of facial plastic surgery.

Nonsurgical Treatments
Advances in radiation therapy alone and in combination with chemotherapy have allowed physicians to control disease in particular regions of the head and neck without the need for surgical intervention. Virginia Mason’s team approach allows the combination of therapies to be used in organ preservation when possible to limit the impact of treatment while offering comparable cure. Access to the latest agents and clinical trials are available through the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute.