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Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons of Western New England

Barry Jacobs, MD, FACS    Jerry Schreibstein, MD, FACS   Theodore Mason, MD
Daniel Plosky, MD   Grant Moore, MD, FACS   Jacquelyn Reilly, MD
Adam Sprague, PA-C   Kimberly Brown, PA-C

In this issue

Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons offers Robotic Surgery to Springfield


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100 Wason Avenue
Suite 100
Springfield, MA 01107
(413) 732-7426
(413) 734-2371 Fax

766 North King Street
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 586-2033
(413) 586-8073 Fax

Mary Lane Hospital
85 South Street
Ware, MA 01082
(413) 967-2249

Office Hours:
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Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons offers Robotic Surgery to Springfield

Image of surgeon using DaVinci system

By Daniel Plosky, MD

Robotic surgery is headlining everything from the national evening news to billboards on our own Route 91. Hospitals are buying the newest technologies and advertising its availability to better attract patients and gain their confidence. In early 2010 the FDA approved the use of the surgical robot in head and neck applications. A handful of visionary ENT surgeons saw the potential to use the daVinci instrument to perform surgeries that were not capable with the tools we had in the past.

The surgical robot consists of a set of arms which are controlled by a surgeon sitting at a nearby console. The surgeon has a high definition 3D scope which allows amazingly detailed visualization of the operating field. The instruments he controls are the size of pencils but have a range of motion that can go 360 degrees around and even double back on themselves. In some ways it's like being able to paint a picture with four brushes at the same time with great precision and visualization in a space no bigger than a Dixie cup!

Only a handful of patients are appropriate for treatment with the daVinci instrument. In particular, certain forms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and early stage cancers of the throat can be cured with the assistance of the robot. Patients with those conditions are examined in the office to determine if they are in fact a candidate for the specialized procedures. If their OSA is found to be due to a large base of tongue which blocks their breathing when they sleep, then they are referred to see a daVinci specialist for a detailed discussion of the surgery and their expectations during recovery. Cancers which have been treated with the daVinci include early stage tonsil, supraglottic, pharyngeal and tongue lesions.

As a patient having a daVinci procedure, one could expect to stay in the hospital for anywhere from one to five days after surgery to allow for healing, and to get appropriate medications and simple nutrition before going home. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia so the patient is completely at rest. The patient’s mouth is held open with a special retractor and the small camera and instrument arms are placed inside to help see and operate on regions of the throat not accessible without the robot.

In Massachusetts the surgery is only available in Springfield and Boston. If you have OSA or early stage throat cancer and are referred for surgical management of your condition, the surgeons at Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons of Western New England will be able to offer you cutting edge technology that is conveniently located close to home.