Avascular midline oropharyngeal anatomy allows for expanded indications for transoral robotic surgery in pediatric patients

D. R. Johnston*, S. E. Maurrasse, J. M. Maddalozzo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) in children is in its infancy, and indications have been primarily limited to lingual tonsillar hypertrophy and superficial mucosal lesions. However, the relatively avascular channel of the midline posterior tongue, vallecula, and posterior hyoid space provides a safe plane of dissection for deep lesions of the tongue and access to structures in the anterior neck. As robotic surgeons gain experience, application of this technology will continue to grow. The method is retrospective case series. We present seven patients who had either a primary (n = 3) or recurrent (n = 4) lingual thyroglossal duct cyst (TGDC) and underwent TORS excision. Four of the seven patients also underwent transoral resection of the central portion of the hyoid bone, while three had central hyoid resection during prior surgery. Two minor complications occurred with no evidence of lesion recurrence after mean follow-up of 19.7 mo. The midline avascular channel of the tongue allows for relatively bloodless surgical access to pathologies of the midline base of tongue and anterior neck. Lingual thyroglossal duct cysts can safely be removed via a TORS approach with evidence of limited recurrence. Robotic technology can provide safe and effective surgical alternatives for children with a variety of pathologies, and we aim to promote the widespread adoption of TORS in pediatric head and neck surgery by sharing our knowledge and clinical experience. Further study and publication are needed to establish safety and efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1803-1808
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Robotic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Lingual
  • Pediatric
  • Sistrunk
  • Thyroglossal duct cyst
  • Tongue base
  • Transoral robotic surgery (TORS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Surgery


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