Each year in the United States, there are about fifty thousand cases of throat or neck cancer. In most cases surgeons make a cut across the throat to remove the tumor.
But now, two surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania are the first in the world to treat oral cancer without a cut across the throat. Instead, they are using a robot to reach the tumor from inside the mouth so there are no visible cuts from the outside.
Doctors Bert O'Malley and Gregory Weinstein developed this technique. The two surgeons partner on each operation, one at the consul, and one by the patient's side. Patients lose less blood and can actually talk and swallow easier after the robotic surgery because there's no cutting. It's a surgery that used to take up to 15 hours. But now, Dr. O'Malley says it takes about three.