OBJECTIVE(S): To investigate dysphagia and quality of life (QoL) outcomes 3 years after treatment of oropharyngeal cancer with either primary trans oral robotic surgery (TORS) or radiotherapy (RT).

METHODS: A prospective cohort study conducted at the Copenhagen University Hospital. Endpoints were objective swallowing function, examined using fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) and video fluoroscopy (VF). QoL was assessed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core (EORTC QLQ-C30), Head & Neck Module (EORTC QLQ-HN35), and MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI). A comparison was made between 1-, and 3-year results.

RESULTS: Forty-four patients were included prior to treatment, 31 treated with TORS and 13 with RT. One-year results for this cohort have previously been published (https://doi.org/10.1080/00016489.2020.1836395). Significant improvement on FEES in retention at the piriform sinus was noted in both groups. Patients treated with TORS had improved safety scores as well as dynamic imaging grade of swallowing toxicity (DIGEST) and efficiency scores, whereas patients treated with RT only had improvements in the latter two. Improvement in QoL scores was only noted for patients treated with TORS in composite MDADI scores.

CONCLUSION: We found significant improvements in objective swallowing function from one to 3 years after treatment, particularly in patients treated with TORS. However, these improvements were not reflected as clinically meaningful improvements in QoL.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3, cohort follow-up study Laryngoscope, 133:1893-1898, 2023.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Laryngoscope
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1893-1898
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Deglutition Disorders/etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms/radiotherapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures/methods


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