Head & Neck Cancer

Transoral Laser Surgery

Transoral laser surgery to treat head and neck cancer

Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) is an endoscopic, minimally invasive surgical technique used for the management of oropharyngeal and laryngeal carcinomas. Its most common use is in the removal of malignant tumours of the vocal cords.

What are the advantages of trans oral laser microsurgery?

If you have early vocal cord cancer you have the option of having it treated with either radiotherapy or with TLM.

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For suitable cases (depending upon the size and the location of the tumour), TLM for the treatment of head and neck cancer offers a number of advantages over radiotherapy including:

How is transoral laser microsurgery performed?

The surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. A hollow metal tube (a laryngoscope) is first passed through the mouth to visualise the tumour. A CO2 laser beam connected to an operating microscope is then used to microsurgically remove the tumour from the vocal cord. The tumour is sent to the laboratory for analysis.

What can I expect after transoral laser microsurgery?

After your TLM procedure, you may experience some mild pain in your throat for a few days. If the surgery involved a vocal cord, you may have a hoarse voice and you will be advised to rest it for a few days. Most often you can return home the same day of your surgery and can return back to work in a couple of days although you will still need to rest your voice.

Rare side effects from TLM can include:

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Am I suitable candidate for transoral laser microsurgery?

A/Prof McGuinness is highly experienced in the treatment of head and neck cancer using TLM. At your consultation he will undertake a thorough medical history and physical examination and will arrange for other specialist imaging investigations. He will then be able to discuss whether your tumour is suitable to be treated using TLM and will answer any of your questions regarding the procedure, expected outcomes and your recovery.