TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS)

About TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS)

For patients diagnosed with benign or malignant tumors of the mouth and throat, TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS), performed at Virginia Mason, in Seattle, Washington, provides a minimally invasive, virtually scarless treatment. This breakthrough surgery, approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2010, 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. 

Virginia Mason is one of a select group of medical centers offering the da Vinci® Surgical System. The da Vinci robot allows the surgeon to operate with multiple precision tools at once, guided by 3D high-definition scopes for optimum tumor visualization and removal. TORS can effectively treat tumors in small or hard-to-reach areas with greater surgical control, helping patients recover more quickly. Outcomes for TORS show excellent cancer control with far less risk of debilitating side effects that can result from open surgeries.

If you have questions or would like more information about TransOral Robotic Surgery, call (206) 341-0675.

Why Choose Virginia Mason for TORS?

The TransOral Robotic Surgery team is led by Stephen Bayles, MD, FACS, and Michael Glenn, MD, FACS. Dr. Bayles is a board-certified head and neck surgeon with fellowship training in head and neck oncologic and microvascular surgery. In addition to Drs. Bayles and Glenn's extensive experience performing robotic surgery, they work with an integrated cancer team including facial plastic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists, all in one location.

  • Schedule a consultation with Dr. Bayles or Dr. Glenn by calling (206) 341-0675.

Additionally, a speech pathologist works with patients if needed to help ensure each patient's return to full function. Completing the team is a clinical nurse coordinator who personally oversees every patient's therapy, while assisting patients and their families throughout the treatment plan. Other members of the treatment team include dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers and therapists specially trained and certified in cancer care, bringing an unparalleled level of expertise to every patient's care plan. Learn more about the care team.

Benefits of TORS

The potential benefits of TORS to patients over open surgery are numerous and can include:

  • A faster recovery and return to normal activity
  • Less time in the hospital
  • Lower rates of complications, including swallowing or speech problems
  • The reduction or elimination of post-surgery radiation and chemotherapy treatment due to more thorough tumor removal
  • No large incisions or scarring to the face or neck
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less risk of blood transfusion when compared to open surgery

What can patients expect after treatment with TORS?

Generally the patient's recovery time is significantly shorter following TransOral Robotic Surgery than with open surgery. Nearly all patients experience good swallowing function soon after surgery with a quicker return to eating and drinking normally.

Virginia Mason offers many types of support for patients after treatment for cancer. The Cancer Rehabilitation and Wellness Program is specifically designed for the needs of patients following treatment, and provides a spectrum of services for everything from pain management and speech or swallowing issues, to mental health and naturopathic medicine. The Virginia Mason care team continues to support the needs of patients long after surgery to ensure the best outcome and return to well-being for every individual.