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Post TORS surgery side effects?? Please help

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2013

Hello, my mother has just been diagnosed with SCC of the posterior pharyngeal wall. Her TORS surgery is scheduled for March 8 and would like to know what to expect after surgery. This is her second occurence, the first one was SCC of the epiglottis in 2004. She did rad/chemo so she still deals with post treatment side effects from 2004. Her ENT surgeon is Dr. Karni at the medical center in Houston  tx if that is of any help. We appreciate all of your story's and feel truly blessed to have found this site. 


Thank you, 


Posts: 76
Joined: Jul 2012

Hi.  I had stage III tonsil cancer with 1 lymph node.   I live in Houston and Dr. Karni did my TORS surgery.   Please don't worry. The recovery was not that bad. I had all teeth removed, TORS surgery to explore and remove tonsil and a neck dissection.  I think I was 5 days in hospital.  The folks who visited me in the ICU after surgery said I looked horrible so don't freak out.  They said my tongue was huge and I was all swollen. However, I felt great! They keep you pretty drugged up and the only pain I had was when the nurse wanted to wean me off IV pain meds and gave me liquid pain meds at day 3. My throat felt like it was on fire.  After that I refused to take pain meds by mouth until I got home and I was OK.  I kept up with me pain medication so I really don't remember having too much pain.  At first I had limited movement on left side but I am now 5 months out and I am golfing and riding bikes, (I am 52). Dr. Karni was great and everyone comments that my scar is really not noticiable.  Everyone at Hermann Memorial is great and I have no complaints. I hope your mom has a good experience also. 



Rick2924's picture
Posts: 23
Joined: Jan 2010


I completed chemo and radiation in early 2009 for base of tongue SCC. The tumor recurred in the original site and in August 2011 I underwent TORS at the University of Pennsylvania. They resected the base of the tongue and did a radical tonsilectomy. They had to perform a tracheostomy and put in a nasal feeding tube. The trach was removed after 4 weeks and the feeding tube after 7 weeks.  The actual recovery from the surgery wasn't too bad. I really experienced no bleeding and the pain was manageable. My main issue was and is the difficulty I have swallowing due to the amount of tissue they had to remove from the base of the tongue and my hard palette

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you so much for your responses. The Dr told us possible trach and feeding tube so I guess it's a wait and see process! Rick2924 how long was your hospital stay if you don't mind me asking? 

Grandmax4's picture
Posts: 709
Joined: Dec 2011

I had surgery by the de vinci robot, to remove my epiglottis..also lymphnodes to be checked for spreading...I was blessed that the nodes clear, so no chemo or radiation was needed.

The side effects from the surgery, for me, were few..I actually had little pain , was very weak and of course fed thru a tube. I had the feeding tube (down my throat ) for about 2 months..meanwhile taking therepy for speech and swallowing. The mucus from nodes being removed was the worse, ugh it was awful..

Now, 1 year and 4 months out, I feel good, am able to eat anything I want and my voice is strong and clear.

I just wanted to ask how your Mom is without her epiglottis?  I know some people are not able to swallow and have to rely on a peg tube for food.

Best of luck to your Mom


Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2013

In 2004 my mother did rad/chemo to remove the cancer From her epiglottis so she still has portions of it. The radiation did leave a hole in it per the dr! During treatment she hard trouble swallowing and ended up with feeding tube but only temporary. Her swallowing had been fine for the past eight years then around Christmas 2012 she started with food getting stuck in throat so that's when she went to ENT in January 2013 and found the new cancer on her back wall of throat. 


I hope your swallowing gets better and thank you for sharing your story with us!


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