Sarvjit Gill, MD - Loveland, CO
Otorhinolaryngology is a specialty with a mix of medicine and surgical decision making that allows me to look at my patient’s issues through two different lenses and choose the appropriate path for the specific situation and individual. This is what intrigues me most about Otorhinolaryngology. When treating the head and neck I can approach the situation from the mental problem solving side as well as using my hands and surgical skills. I enjoy using both avenues in my practice.
As part of the surgical solutions I use, I’ve become very excited about the use of the di Vinci SI robotic surgical system. I was fortunate to be chosen as one of the first 10 doctors in the nation trained on the tool for Transoral robotic surgery and I’ve been averaging about one of these procedures a week with patients from around the state. The robotic tool allows me to gain access to the mouth and throat for cancer resections, revolutionizing head and neck cancer patient care.
In the past, a Mandibulotomy was a required surgery for these patients and included a major resection and reconstruction following. Now with the improved access we have reduced the surgical time, blood loss and the operation is far less invasive. For example, I recently operated on a patient on Friday;, the breathing tube was removed on Monday; they were swallowing by Tuesday; and ready to go home by Wednesday. Just a few years ago this was absolutely unheard of timing for this type of cancer surgery.
Over the past year I have been lecturing and teaching others within the state and around the country how to perform these types of surgeries using robotic assistance. As a leader in these new procedures, I am privileged to be on the cutting edge of the field and able to bring the improved practices to both my patients and my fellow colleagues. In the future, I look forward to an expansion of the procedures we can perform using this type of robotic surgery system.
Within the next five years Transoral robotic surgery will become common place as will Transaxillary Robotic Thyroidectomies using the robotic system. I have done a few of the robotic Thyroidectomies gaining access under the arm and through a tunnel across the chest to the thyroid. For those select patients this procedure is again far less invasive and cosmetically less obvious than the non-robotic alternative
In general, tools such as these will allow me to do more work within the oral cavity, tonsils, throat and tongue, opening greater horizon for more development of less invasive head and neck surgeries for Otorhinolaryngologists.