In this medical video learn how recovery time is faster and less painful for patients with oral cancer thanks to a new robotic surgery technique.
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Jennifer Matthews: Unfortunately, Joan McCauley has been in this hospital bed before. Twenty years ago, she had tongue cancer surgery. Joan McCauley: The recovery from my first surgery for tongue cancer was, it was very raw. It was a raw area, it was tender, and it was quite painful to be honest. Jennifer Matthews: Now, Joan is having the same surgery again today. Joan McCauley: This is the least one hopefully. Jennifer Matthews: But this time, a robot will be doing much of the work. Jennifer Matthews: Surgeons used to cut across the throat to remove the tumor. But the robot operates through Joan's mouth, so the only incisions are small and are made on the inside of the body. Bert O'Malley : Now, we do remove the entire tumor but we don't have to do things such as wide incisions on the neck or breaking or splitting the jaw bone and moving the tongue. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Dr. O'Malley and Gregory Weinstein developed the technique. Gregory Weinstein : The robot allows me to move my hands on the joysticks of the robotic console, and it's as if my hands were made this small, and I could get them right into the mouth to do the operation. Jennifer Matthews: The two surgeons partner on each operation; one at the console, and one by the patient's side. Patients lose less blood and can actually talk and swallow more easlily because there's no cutting. Gregory Weinstein: We are now being able to do the surgery with decreased side effects. Jennifer Matthews: These surgeries used to take up to 15 hours. Now, with the robot, they take about three and that's okay with Joan who doesn't want to spend any more time in surgery than she has to. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.