Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

McGovern Medical School

UTHealth Head & Neck Surgery

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The Head and Neck Cancer Program, a joint effort of UTHealth Otorhinolaryngology and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, provides comprehensive, highly-personalized medical and surgical treatment of patients with benign and malignant tumors of the skin, salivary glands, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, thyroid and parathyroid glands. The program’s goal is the eradication of cancer with a minimum of side effects for the patient.

Patients have immediate access to multidisciplinary expertise including oncologic and reconstructive surgery, medical oncology, radiation therapy, oral surgery, pathology, neuroradiology, nuclear medicine, pain management, speech therapy, voice restoration and nutrition services. Following the removal of large tumors, we offer the possibility of immediate reconstruction by a fellowship-trained facial and plastic reconstructive surgeon affiliated with the program, with attention to both function and cosmetic considerations.

The program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth (UTHealth) and Memorial Hermann-TMC and offers state-of-the-art care for patients with tumors of the head and neck. Patients have immediate access to new medical and surgical therapies, including organ-preservation therapy using chemotherapy and radiation, minimally invasive thyroid and parathyroid surgery, robotic thyroidectomy, transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) and transoral robotic surgery (TORS). Those who qualify have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of treatments not otherwise available.

The program’s team of specialists has expertise in all aspects of cancer care. Referred patients are evaluated by an affiliated head and neck oncologic surgeon who is board certified in otorhinolaryngology. Workups include radiology services performed by dedicated faculty in the Departments of Nuclear Medicine and Neuroradiology. Cases are evaluated and discussed by a multidisciplinary Head and Neck Tumor Board.

Highlights

  • Highly personalized and comprehensive care
  • Supported by the full array of services available under one roof
  • Convenient parking connected to the hospital
  • Thorough evaluation by head and neck oncologic surgeons
  • Focus on the least-invasive treatment
  • State-of-the-art care using organ-preservation therapy
  • Case discussion by the program’s multidisciplinary Head and Neck Tumor Board
  • Surgical and nonsurgical options for treatment
  • Minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgery options
  • Second-opinion consultations
  • Multidisciplinary management of malignancies
  • Immediate access to new medical and surgical therapies
  • Strong focus on functional and cosmetic outcomes, available at a tertiary care medical center
  • Emphasis on quality of life
  • Access to clinical trials

Scope of Expertise

  • Malignancies of the tongue
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the oral cavity (lips, gums, and soft and hard palates)
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the oropharynx (soft palate, tonsils and tongue base)
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the throat and voice box (pharynx, larynx, trachea)
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the nose and paranasal sinuses
  • Malignancies of the thyroid and parathyroid
  • All other types of head and neck cancer
  • Treatment of the secondary effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy

Treatment

The program is committed to innovation in the treatment of complex malignancies and to close collaboration with referring physicians. Once a diagnosis has been made, we have at our disposal the most advanced treatment options available, including state-of-the-art medical therapy and surgery using minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.

Reconstructive Surgery

The program’s facial and plastic reconstructive surgeon offers specialized procedures and services for the repair of facial and head/neck deformities resulting from tumor removal and skin cancer excision. Their ability to perform microvascular free-tissue transfer allows them to reconstruct the most complex of secondary facial defects, with the goal of achieving maximal restoration and improving patients’ self-confidence.

Innovation and Robotics

Approved by the FDA in December 2009 for transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for resection of tumors of the tongue and throat, the da Vinci Surgical System offers advantages beyond traditional surgical approaches to the throat, especially in the region of the tonsils and tongue base. Rather than having to divide the lower lip or divide the mandible in the midline, surgeons can approach these tumors directly through the mouth using the da Vinci robot. The robot’s camera allows for visualization around structures such as the tongue, providing a highly magnified three-dimensional view.

Patient-Centered Care

The program’s philosophy of patient-centered care includes respect for each patient’s values, preferences and expressed needs; the coordination and integration of care; communication and education; physical comfort and emotional support; and the involvement of family and friends in the treatment and recovery process.

Research

The value of bench research and clinical trials in advancing quality of care and improving outcomes is undisputed. From the patient perspective, participation in a clinical trial carries controlled risks and offers significant advantages in terms of very close and personalized long-term follow-up. It also offers treatment options that would otherwise be unavailable. As the primary teaching hospital for McGovern Medical School, Memorial Hermann-TMC is positioned on the frontier of medicine, creating innovative programs of care, engaging in leading-edge research and promoting education, all of which improve human health and wellbeing.

Meet the team

Tang Ho, MD
Kunal Jain, MD
Ron Karni, MD

Consultations

To refer or schedule a patient, please call 713-486-5000.