Posted on January 31, 2016

Experts at Apollo Hospitals, Asia’s foremost healthcare provider has stated that there has been an increase in robotic surgeries and several GCC patients are opting for these surgeries to be carried out in India. Pioneers in minimally invasive procedures in India, Apollo Hospitals have successfully performed a wide range of procedures, including cancer surgeries, using robotic technology. The hospital has also seen a growing interest in alternative treatment for head and neck cancer which is offered at Apollo Hospitals in India.

“The head and neck gives identity to each individual and takes part in the complex functions of chewing, swallowing, speech, breathing, vision and sense of smell. A wide range of cancers develop in the head and neck area, including the throat, voice box, nose, sinuses, mouth, salivary glands and thyroid. These tumors as well as treatment for these can interfere with these functions. Recent advances in treatment are aimed at not only in curing the patient but also to preserve and restore these vital functions as well as appearance,” said Dr. C. Rayappa, Senior Consultant, Dept. of ENT – Head & Neck and Skull base Surgery, Apollo Specialty Hospitals, Chennai.

Complex medical procedures on the 2 [].jpg“Complex medical procedures have been on the rise in the GCC but many of the patients opt for medical destinations like India because of less waiting times, state of the art infrastructure, highly skilled medical staff and affordable cost of treatment. These factors are the key decision driving points which guide international patients to choose India as the point of medical destination for treatment, especially from the GCC,” added Dr. Rayappa.

Tumors in the head and neck area are usually present with a non-healing ulcer in the mouth or change of voice or difficulty in chewing and swallowing or a lump in the neck or bleeding or pain in the nose or mouth and difficulty in opening mouth. Advances in imaging (CT, MRI, or Ultrasound) give more information about the location and extent of the tumor. Positron emission tomography or better known as PET - CT scan helps to determine whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Many cancers of the head and neck can be cured, especially if they are found early. Treatment consists of surgery or radiotherapy or both depending upon the type, site and size of the tumor. Chemotherapy is indicated only in special circumstances.

“Surgery is the primary treatment for most cancers of the head and neck. Working as a team, head and neck surgeons and reconstructive surgeons bring out the best results in this particular surgery. Improvements in surgical techniques allow surgeons to remove tumors while preserving nearby uninvolved structures. Some patients may require surgical removal of the lymph nodes in the neck if any cancer cells have spread beyond their original site,” said Dr. Rayappa. Dr. Rayappa adds, “Surgery for tumors reaching the brain (Skull base surgery) — once considered nearly impossible — is safely performed. Head and neck surgeons and neurosurgeons use innovative surgical approaches to remove these tumors without damaging the nerves and blood vessels in that region.”

Tumors in the tonsils and base of the tongue have traditionally been removed through surgeries requiring a large neck incision and cutting the lower jawbone. These types of surgeries often require long hospital stays, extensive rehabilitation and may result in difficulty in swallowing and talking. An advanced, minimally invasive alternative is now available. These tumors are removed through the mouth using a robot. This is also known as Trans Oral Robotic Surgery.

Apollo Hospitals have successfully treated over 60,000 foreign patients from across the world, including the UAE, Oman and Qatar, during the last five years and the numbers are looking up every year.