Oral Cancer also called mouth cancer, is one of the dreaded and life-threatening oral diseases. The treatment of several types of oral cancers in dentistry depends much on the stage of cancer and its location. Locations such as the tongue and throat are difficult to treat and require substantial surgeries which may lead to facial disfigurement. These extensive surgeries also lead to long post surgery rehabilitation of the subject.
Recent works at leading institutes are using cutting edge technology to support robotic dental surgeries. The use of robotic hands for surgery not only ameliorate the efficiency of the surgery but also reduce the recovery time for early to middle stage cancers. When surgeries for tongue and throat cancers are performed by hand, a very large incision is required across the throat sometimes from ear to ear. The surgeon must make room to get cancer from the base thus, the mandible may have to be cut from the middle. Skin grafts and plates are required to help close the large wound and reconstruct the patient’s face. Patients require months of therapy to learn how to swallow and talk again post surgery. The surgery, post operative care and restoration therapy are very traumatic and tough for the patient and his/her family.
The robotic arms can work through a patient's open mouth. Its long slender hands do the surgery without the unavoidable trauma induced by a surgeon's hand. With a 3-D view of the surgical site, the surgeon can control the robotic hands and complete the surgery within a less amount of time. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia within 45 minutes, which would take at least 12 hours if done by hand. Patients can eat and drink within 24 hours of the surgery and go home within 2 days. Conversely, patients operated by hand will take 5-7 days in intensive care and 2-3 weeks more in the hospital.
With many contemporary techniques and advancements, surgeries performed in hard to reach areas of the mouth and throat may be easily treated with a less amount of time and decreased trauma.