Saturday, December 16, 2017
FAQs

What is TLM?

TLM stands for “Transoral Laser Microsurgery”.  This is a minimally invasive laser procedure to treat throat cancer.

What are the advantages of TLM?

  • Preservation of speech, swallowing and breathing functions
  • Reduced swelling and a lower risk of infection compared to invasive surgery
  • Faster and easier recovery with a rapid return to work and day-to-day tasks
  • Improvement in overall quality of life
  • A lower risk of side effects, compared to invasive surgery
  • Treatment can be repeated and other options remain open in case of incomplete elimination of cancer
  • Results are equal or superior to radiation therapy

How is TLM performed?

You will be placed under general anesthesia.  The procedure uses endoscopic instruments and microscopes to view the tumor and a CO2 laser to remove the tumor, without any external cutting or radiation.

Will I feel anything with the laser treatment?

You will be placed under general anesthesia, so you will not feel anything during the laser treatment.  Your doctor will provide specific instructions to make your recovery after treatment as comfortable as possible.

How often do I need to receive TLM treatments?

One treatment session is often enough.  Depending on your individual circumstances, another treatment may be required at some point in the future.

How does TLM work?

TLM works by using a laser to surgically remove the tumor.  Since the laser and all other apparatus to guide and visualize the treatment are inserted through the mouth, no external incisions are needed.  Removing the tumor, especially while it is still small and in its early stages, is often enough to treat the throat cancer successfully with a very high survival rate.

How do I know TLM has worked?

You will require follow-up visits with your doctor to monitor the success of the treatment.

Is TLM right for me?

Your doctor is your best source of information and guidance.  TLM may be the right option for you, so speak to your doctor to find out more and to help determine what is best for your individual needs.

Are there other options available?

There are other surgical or medical options available, including open surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.  Speak to your doctor to determine which option is best for you.

Does TLM work for all types of throat cancer?

There are different types of throat cancer, which involve different structures.  Depending on how early the cancer is detected, how aggressive it is and which structures are involved, TLM may be suitable.  While TLM works for many cases, it does not work for all.  Consult with your doctor to decide the best course of action.

How long is the recovery?

Patients are typically in the hospital for only a day or two and are able to return to their normal activities within one week.  TLM has a post-surgical complication rate of less than 5%. For patients with more advanced cancers who also receive radiotherapy in addition to TLM, the hospital stay is typically under one week. 
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