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Letters to the Editor
Apr 2012

The Need for Further Evaluation of Objective Parameters of Swallowing Function After Transoral Robotic Surgery

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012;138(4):432-433. doi:10.1001/archoto.2012.113

We highly commend the efforts of Sinclair et al1 in bringing an important yet frequently overlooked facet of transoral robotic surgery (TORS)—patient perceptions and functional outcomes relating to quality-of-life measures—into the spotlight. The authors used a subjective measure of swallowing function from the M. D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory to assess patient-perceived dysphagia-specific quality-of-life outcomes in patients treated with TORS. However, an objective measure of dysphagia must be used to ascertain the functional impact of head and neck cancer treatment modalities. The penetration-aspiration scale (PAS) and the modified barium swallow provide excellent techniques for assessing swallowing function and risk of aspiration.