Transoral robotic retropharyngeal node dissection

Babak Givi, Scott H. Troob, Will Stott, Teresa Cordeiro, Peter E. Andersen, Neil D. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background Surgical access to metastases in the retropharyngeal lymph nodes (RPLNs) could be difficult. Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) can be utilized to access RPLNs. The purpose of this study was to describe a TORS approach to RPLN dissection. Methods A case series of patients undergoing RPLN dissection by TORS was conducted and compared to matched controls (1:2). Results Twelve patients underwent robotic RPLN dissection. Median age was 63 years (range, 43-73 years). Pathology was oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in 9 patients and papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) in 3 patients. The feeding tube dependence duration was 12 days (range, 1-46 days) on average. Complications occurred in 8 patients (66%); most commonly, aspiration pneumonitis in 6 patients. In comparison to the matched controls (24), there was no difference in length of stay or feeding tube dependence. Complications were higher in patients with oropharyngeal SCC. Conclusion TORS is feasible for accessing RPLNs. The procedure is well tolerated in patients with PTC; whereas patients with oropharyngeal SCC are at increased risk of complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E981-E986
JournalHead and Neck
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • lymph node dissection
  • oropharynx neoplasm
  • papillary thyroid cancer
  • retropharyngeal space
  • transoral robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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