Da Vinci: A Must for Mom with Tonsil Cancer
When Pamela Frantz was diagnosed with tonsil cancer earlier this year, her son knew what he wanted for her.
Thomas Frantz, who works on robotics at Memphis-area hospitals, insisted she seek care at a hospital that offers the da Vinci robotic surgery.
Fortunately, Frantz already was receiving care at Baptist Health Paducah, the first hospital in the region to offer da Vinci robotic surgery.
“He told me to only go where they have the robot,” said Frantz, 56, of Martin, Tenn. “It goes where hands can’t.”
Frantz’s tonsil cancer was discovered after she had a tooth pulled. Symptoms of tonsil cancer include throat pain, bad breath, bloody saliva, voice change and difficulty swallowing. “The lymph nodes on the side of my face were swollen,” she said. “I had a biopsy and it was cancer.”
Otolaryngologist Daren Kest, D.O., used the da Vinci to treat her throat cancer. The system seamlessly translates the surgeon’s hands, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient in an area smaller than would be required for the surgeon’s hands.
“Seeing our patients benefit from this leading-edge technology is thrilling,” Dr. Kest said. “We’re very excited about this new da Vinci procedure to treat cancerous and non-cancerous diseases of the throat. Benefits of the da Vinci robot include significantly less blood loss, no visible scaring or disfigurement, no tracheostomy, fewer complications, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery related to speech and swallowing, excellent cancer control and minimization or elimination of need for chemotherapy or radiation.”
Frantz, a non-smoker, had her tonsils and one lymph node removed, and then followed up with radiation.
“I came out of it, and I was eating and swallowing just fine,” she said. “I only had to take pain medication for a couple of days. I’m doing great.”
For more information, contact Baptist Health Line at (270) 575-2918.