CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A Horace Greeley High School graduate became the first surgeon in Westchester to treat throat cancer by using a minimally invasive procedure that can shorten hospitalization time and lead to faster rehabilitation.
Dr. Jk Rasamny, a head and neck surgeon at White Plains Hospital, performed the trans oral robotic surgery (TORS) on a patient with oropharyngeal cancer, which is becoming more prevalent in young people due largely to an epidemic of human papillomavirus (HPV). This type of cancer causes malignant cells to form on the base of the tongue, tonsils, soft palate and the walls of the pharynx.
“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,” Rasamny said. “These types of surgeries resulted in high blood loss, extended hospitalization, as well as breathing and feeding tubes.”
In addition to shorter recovery time, this procedure offers the patients less pain, blood loss and scarring and can even decrease the patient’s need for radiation and, in some cases, eliminate the need for chemotherapy.
Patients who are given lower doses of radiation without chemotherapy can result in better speech and swallowing for the patient, according to recent studies.
As a robotics surgery, it offers the surgeon more control, precision and visibility.
“Dr. Rasamny is a highly skilled surgeon with advanced training in minimally invasive surgical treatment of cancers of the head and neck,” said Dr. Michael Palumbo, chief medical officer and executive vice president of 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.”
The Chappaqua native, who is a part of a group practice with offices in White Plains, Rye Brook and Ardsley, earned his medical degree and did a residency in head and neck surgery at the University of Virginia. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania for a fellowship in head and neck oncology, and then served one year as clinical instructor on staff in the Head and Neck Oncology Division.
The procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2009.