• Chemotherapy;
  • da Vinci surgical robot;
  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma;
  • oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma;
  • radiation therapy;
  • selective neck dissection;
  • transoral robotic surgery;
  • Level of Evidence: 1b



The purpose of this study was to determine the regional recurrence rate of node-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) in patients undergoing transoral robotic surgery (TORS) and selective neck dissection (SND) followed by observation, radiation, or concurrent chemoradiation.

Study Design:

A prospective, phase I, single-arm study was conducted. All OPSCC patients who voluntarily participated in a surgical trial with TORS and SND at an academic tertiary referral center from May 2005 to July 2007 were included.


Thirty-one patients with previously untreated OPSCC undergoing TORS and SND (29 unilateral and two bilateral) were included. There were 29 males and two females, with ages ranging from 36 to 76 years (median = 55 years) with one palate, one lateral wall, 17 tonsil, 11 base of tongue, and one vallecula primary tumor classified as follows: T1 (n = 9, 29%), T2 (n = 15, 48.4%), T3 (n = 7, 22.6%), N0 (n = 6, 19.4%), N1 (n = 15, 48.4%), N2b (n = 10, 32.3%), and N2c (n = 1, 3.2%). There were three stage I (9.7%), two stage II (6.5%), 15 stage III (48.4%) and 11 stage IVa (35.5%) patients. Twenty-two patients were treated postoperatively with adjuvant therapy (12 radiation alone and 12 combined radiation and chemotherapy). Primary outcome measured was regional recurrence rate.


There was one regional recurrence on the contralateral, non-operated neck and one distant recurrence among the 31 patients who underwent SND.


SND after TORS resection of primary OPSCC enables the use of selective and deintensified adjuvant therapy to reduce regional recurrence rates. Laryngoscope, 2010