First Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) Performed in South Jersey at Kennedy University Hospital
Monday, May 02, 2011

Dr. Scott Schaffer

The first Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) in southern New Jersey was conducted at Kennedy University Hospital on April 22, 2011. Kennedy Medical Staff member Scott R. Schaffer, M.D., FACS, a board-certified otolaryngologist, operated on a 57-year-old Atco, NJ, woman using Intuitive Surgical da Vinci® S HD System, commonly referred to as “robot-assisted surgery.”

The patient, who suffered from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, underwent three robot-assisted otolaryngology procedures to address her symptoms during the one-hour and 40-minute surgery:

·         A hemiglossectomy to reduce the size of the back of her tongue

·         A tonsillectomy

·         An uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to trim the uvula/soft palate and move it forward.

The da Vinci S HD Surgical System integrates 3D HD endoscopy and state-of-the-art technology to virtually extend the surgeon’s eyes and hands into the surgical field.  Dr. Schaffer underwent specialized training in robotic surgery.

For patients, da Vinci surgery offers a variety of benefits, including:

  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Less blood loss and need for transfusions
  • Less scarring
  • Quicker return to normal activities

“This patient had three procedures done on Good Friday, and was able to return home the next day, in time to spend Easter with her family,” Dr. Schaffer said. “With robotic-assisted surgery, the recovery can be amazingly quick.”

Using the da Vinci Surgical System, the surgeon operates while seated comfortably at a console viewing a 3D image of the surgical field. The surgeon’s fingers grasp the master controls below the display, with hands and wrists naturally positioned relative to his or her eyes. The system seamlessly translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient.  Many surgical procedures performed today using standard laparoscopic technique may be performed more quickly and easily using the da Vinci Surgical System. And some procedures, such as the base of tongue procedure performed on this patient, are made possible because of the dexterity of the robotic arms.

This is because the da Vinci Surgical System delivers increased clinical capability while maintaining the same ‘look and feel’ of open surgery.  In addition to the otolaryngology procedures done by Dr. Schaffer, Kennedy surgeons have also used the da Vinci System to perform gynecologic procedures (laparoscopic hysterectomies), thoracic procedures (pulmonary lobectomies) and urologic procedures (prostatectomies).

“I am pleased to have performed the first robotic otolaryngologic procedure in South Jersey,” Dr. Schaffer said. “This is a breakthrough that offers patients a quicker recovery time with less risk of complications.” Dr. Schaffer, a private practitioner in Gibbsboro, NJ, is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery with the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He was named to the 2011 National Consumers’ Survey, NJ: Most Recommended Physicians.