Penn-Developed Surgical Procedure Approved

January 15, 2010

The Daily Pennsylvanian

In continuing coverage, The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a technique for minimally invasive head and neck surgeries developed by two Penn Medicine surgeons in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology. Penn surgeons Gregory Weinstein, MD, FACS, and Bert O'Malley, MD, founded the world's first TORS program at Penn in 2004. After publishing a study with researchers at Northwestern and Vanderbilt Universitieis, O'Malley and Weinstein were able to earn FDA approval for the TORS procedure in December. According to O'Malley, chair of Otorhinolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery, the technique reduces the traditional five-t-seven day recovery time for head and neck surgeries to only two or three days and saves patients a trip to the intensive care unit. It has also been shown to be a preferred option to chemotherapy, which is not invasive but "painful and destructive in its intensity" to eradicate tumors, O'Malley said. "One of the key measures of quality of life is whether the patient needs a long-term stomach tube for feeding after these surgeries," Weinstein said. "TORS shows at least an 8% improvement in swallowing function." Read More