Trans-oral robotic surgery for head and neck cancers using the Medrobotics Flex® system: the Adelaide cohort

Oladejo Olaleye, Bola Jeong, Michael Switajewski, Eng H. Ooi, Suren Krishnan, Andrew Foreman, John Charles Hodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Trans-oral robotic surgery for head and neck cancers can be performed using rigid, multi-port robots with linear access but the Medrobotics Flex® system offers an alternative as it is endo-luminal, single-port, and uses flexible instruments. To assess the utility of the Medrobotics Flex® system for head and neck cancer (HNC) resections. A retrospective review of all HNC resections done over a 2.5-year period (Jan 2017–July 2019) at the Memorial Hospital, using the Flex® system. Data collected include patient demographics, tumour site, tumour stage, p16 status, smoking history, surgery performed, histologic margins, complications, overall survival, recurrence, and adjuvant treatments received. There were 49 head and neck cancer cases in total done using the Medrobotics Flex® system. Median age 60 years, with M:F ratio 3.5:1. Outcomes: oropharyngeal cancers (82%), p16 positive (89%), overall survival (94%), local recurrence (6%), and adjuvant treatment (84%). Cancer procedures done included lateral oropharyngectomy (43%), tongue base mucosectomy (27%), tongue base resection (18%), and others (12%) which include a single case each of supraglottic laryngectomy, hypopharyngeal tumour resection, partial pharyngectomy, partial glossectomy, and vocal cord tumour resection. Clear margins were related to tumour T stage and achieved for T1 tonsil cancer (75%), T2 tonsil cancer (70%), T3 tonsil cancer (50%), T1 tongue base cancer (80%), and T2 tongue base cancer (66.7%). Median operating time with neck dissection was 2 h 40 min, whilst median length of hospital stay was 1 day (IQR 1–7 days). Complications included a single case each of secondary haemorrhage (managed conservatively), oro-cervical fistula, wound infection, tongue numbness, and a medical event. There was no primary haemorrhage and no mortality. The Medrobotics Flex® system is a safe and reliable tool for head and neck cancer surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-536
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Robotic Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Cancer, head and neck
  • FLEX
  • Medrobotics
  • Robotic
  • Surgery
  • Trans-oral


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