Head and Neck Surgeon is First in Region to Successfully Utilize Minimally Invasive Technique for Treatment of Oropharyngeal Cancer
White Plains, NY (March 12, 2014) – Jk Rasamny, M.D., Head and Neck Surgeon at White Plains Hospital, last month became the first surgeon in Westchester County to perform a trans oral robotic surgery (TORS) in the treatment of throat cancer. The particular procedure Dr. Rasamny performed with the assistance of his surgical colleague Dr. Mike Yao, was a radical tonsillectomy using the da Vinci® surgical system.
Dr. Rasamny and Dr. Yao removed the tonsils as well as the surrounding constrictor muscle of a patient with oropharyngeal cancer, a type of cancer where malignant cells form on the base of the tongue, tonsils, soft palate and the walls of the pharynx. The incidence of oropharyngeal cancer is rapidly on the rise, particularly in younger people and largely due to an epidemic of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause malignant cells to develop and spread.
“In the past, surgical resection of these tumors involved very invasive methods requiring splitting of the lower lip, dividing the mandible, and cutting the tissue next to the tongue to gain access to the patient’s throat. These types of surgeries resulted in high blood loss, extended hospitalization, as well as breathing and feeding tubes,” said Dr. Rasamny. “Today, the da Vinci, with the help of its optics and wristed robotic arms, allows us to perform an equally, if not more effective removal of cancerous cells with a minimally invasive technique typically requiring a shorter hospitalization, simpler reconstruction, and faster rehabilitation than open techniques.”
Dr Rasamny also explained that historically, patients have shied away from surgical resection of these tumors preferring non-invasive treatment modalities such as chemotherapy and radiation. However, this procedure can often decrease the amount of radiation that patients require and in some cases completely eliminate the need for chemotherapy. Recent studies are indicating significant long term benefits in terms of patient’s speech and swallowing outcomes when they can be successfully treated with lower doses of radiation and without chemotherapy.
Pioneered at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December, 2009, trans oral robotic surgery offers the patient a shorter recovery time, reduced pain, blood loss and scarring, and a shorter hospital stay.
“Dr. Rasamny is a highly skilled surgeon with advanced training in minimally invasive surgical treatment of cancers of the head and neck,” said Michael Palumbo, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President at White Plains Hospital. “With this technique and others using the da Vinci surgical system, we are increasingly able to perform what have been traditionally very involved and complicated cases with enhanced accuracy and faster recovery times, all for the benefit of our patients.”
During a robotic procedure such as the one Dr. Rasamny and Dr. Yao performed, the surgeon sits at the robotic console in the operating room viewing a 3-D, high-definition camera image of the surgical site. The surgeon uses hand controls which correspond to precise movements of the camera and smaller instruments inside the patient. Advantages of robotic surgery include control, precision and clear visibility.
White Plains Hospital has been known for years throughout the region for advanced expertise in robotic surgery, most notably for robotic prostatectomy, gynecologic surgery and more recently, surgery for the treatment of lung cancer and colorectal cancer. In October, the first single site hysterectomy in Westchester was performed there by Gynecologic Surgeon Dr. Herbert Gretz, and in December, colorectal surgeon Dr. Kimberly Yee was the first in the county to perform a robotic colectomy.
Dr Rasamny was raised in Chappaqua, NY where he attended Horace Greeley High School. He completed his undergraduate studies at Duke University. He received his medical degree from the University of Virginia, followed by a residency there in Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Mulholland Society Teaching Award for his work with medical students. He then completed a fellowship in Head and Neck Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also served one year as Clinical Instructor on staff in the Head and Neck Oncology Division.
In addition to performing surgery at White Plains Hospital, Dr. Rasamny sees patients at his group practice office, ENT Faculty Practice, with offices located in White Plains, Rye Brook, and Ardsley, N.Y.
White Plains Hospital (WPH) is a 292-bed voluntary, not-for-profit health care organization with the primary mission of offering high quality, acute health care and preventive medical care to all people who live in, work in or visit Westchester County and its surrounding areas. Centers of Excellence include the Dickstein Cancer Center, The William & Sylvia Silberstein Neonatal & Maternity Center and The Ruth and Jerome A. Siegel Stroke Center . The Hospital has the busiest Emergency Department in Westchester County, seeing over 55,000 visits a year. White Plains Hospital is the only community hospital in Westchester County licensed to perform emergency & elective angioplasty. The Hospital is an eleven-time winner of the Consumer Choice Award, an honor given to the nation’s top hospitals by the National Research Corporation, and received Magnet designation in 2012 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). WPH received recognition as a Top Performer for Key Quality Measures® from the Joint Commission in 2013. For additional information, visit http://www.wphospital.org.