Phoenix’s Top Doctors Provide Head & Neck Surgery

Regardless of the surgical procedure you’re undergoing, trust in the team performing it is essential. 

The experienced surgical team at Scottsdale ENT performs a range of procedures including thyroid surgery, parotid surgery, neck dissection, and transoral robotic surgery.

Thyroid Surgery – we perform this for a variety of reasons, including treatment of nodules or cysts, goiter, Graves disease, and also to rule out or to treat thyroid cancer.

Parotid Surgery – a parotidectomy is the surgical removal of part or all of the parotid gland.  This procedure is often carried out in order to remove a lump from the parotid gland.  These lumps are usually benign but are removed to prevent them from continuing to grow and risk the possibility of becoming malignant.

Neck Dissection – there are two types of neck dissections: Radical, which aims to remove all of the lymph nodes in the neck, and, partial where we only remove the affected nodes.

Transoral Robotic Surgery – transoral robotic surgery (TORS) allows our patients to recover more rapidly and reduces surgical risks. Throat cancer and sleep apnea can also be treated with TORS with positive results.

Phoenix magazine top doctor

Dr. Kurt E. Heiland and Dr MacKechnie were recently featured in the Phoenix Magazine 2020 Top Doctor issue.  Dr. Heiland has been chosen by his peers for more than 13 years in the otolaryngologist specialty (what most of us call ENT). Dr. MacKechnie is the first female otolaryngologist to make the Top Doctor’s list in over 12 years.

Dr. Heiland specializes in surgery of the head and neck, utilizing the latest technology and techniques. Dr. Heiland is also qualified to treat balance problems and is a member of VEDA (Vestibular Disorders Association).

Dr. MacKechnie is board certified in otolaryngology and treats a broad range of ear, nose, and throat conditions.

Answers To Your Questions About The
Revolutionary Transoral Robotic Surgery

Dr. Kurt E. Heiland and Dr. Cheryl A. MacKechnie specialize in performing minimally invasive, robotic-assisted head and neck surgery.

This innovative procedure can limit or eliminate the intensity of radiation therapy, reducing the side effects of traditional treatment. Additional benefits realized with transoral robotic surgery include avoiding tracheostomy, shorter hospital stays and fewer post-op complications.

The use of TORS results in shorter duration and virtually scarless recovery from head and neck surgery. Because access during a TORS procedure is through your mouth, our specialists have unprecedented access to the small and often difficult-to-reach areas in the throat.

Transoral Robotic Surgery (Tors) – What Is It?

Designed as a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove cancer of the tonsils, tongue base, and larynx, TORS uses a highly sophisticated machine known as the “da Vinci robot.” The procedure reduces recovery time as well as decreasing common risks associated with surgical procedures.

In addition to cancer surgery, this procedure produces positive results for patients suffering with sleep apnea.

What Are The Benefits Of This Procedure?

Head or neck surgery using TORS allows for the removal of malignant or non-malignant growths and tumors with greater precision and efficiency. The procedure eliminates the need for a neck incision and flap closure. This not only prevents unattractive scarring on your neck, but also speeds recovery and decreases the risk of complications that often develop during and after traditional surgical procedures.

How Long Is Recovery?

TORS recovery times are significantly shorter when compared to open procedures. Because patients experience fewer side effects, they usually return to their regular routines much sooner. Additional questions about complications and recovery from transoral robotic surgery should be directed to Dr. Heiland’s office.

Who Is A Candidate For Transoral Robotic Surgery?

TORS in not the best treatment option for all patients with cancer of the tonsils, tongue base, or larynx. When other treatment options provide positive results without side effects, our specialists do not recommend TORS. Candidates for the procedure are usually those who are not seeing positive results from other treatments. For example, a sleep apnea patient who receives inadequate or no benefit from CPAP is a potential candidate for TORS.

Kurt E. Heiland, M.D,. who has significant experience with the procedure is the most qualified specialist in the region when it comes to offering TORS or recommending an alternate form of treatment.

What About Side Effects?

An initial period of discomfort, like with a tonsillectomy and the slight risk of bleeding after surgery, are common side effects after the procedure. Speech and swallowing after TORS provide minor issues for most patients.

Post-operative bleeding only occurs in about 3 out of 100 patients, while only 1 in 100 of these patients will require some form of intervention to stop bleeding.

Will I Have Any Visible Scars?

Access to the area where the procedure is performed is usually through the mouth, so TORS leaves no external scars. However, when used in combination with the removal of lymph nodes, there can be a single scar on the neck. We make every effort to assure that scarring is as inconspicuous as possible.

What Our Patients Are Saying

You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again – Regina’s Story

Regina has suffered from hearing problems since she was an infant, recognized as regular chronic ear infections. And, as with unfortunate events, she has experienced a multitude of audiology catastrophes.

It was many years before Regina crossed paths with Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat; where her lifetime of hearing problems was addressed effectively and treated with the delicate care that she desperately required.

Regina’s journey began when she was taken to a regular paediatrician by her mother from a young age. Her ears were, what we describe as an audiologists recipe for disaster, ‘flushed out’.

This dangerous procedure caused a nasty infection, which spread to her mastoid bone and, at the age of 15, she underwent a tympanoplasty mastoidectomy to stop the infection spreading. This only forbade her future struggles with hearing loss. 

As with poor diagnosis, Regina was faced with another canaloplasty which didn’t work. Soon after, she received a BAHA, which is a cochlear implant in her skull that acts as a sound processor that detects sound and transforms it into vibrations. 

However, suffering from a history of poor hearing care, she was unaware of the former issues her ear presented.

By now, this would be described as any audiologists nightmare. But, we’re proud to have helped Regina on her road to optimum hearing and reconnect her to her loved ones.

When she arrived at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat it was evident that she was losing hearing on her right side. At this point, she was fitted with a ReSound hearing device, which provided the catalyst to a new and improved hearing.

The first thing Regina noticed was the indefinite sound she had been making whilst emptying the dishwasher, completely unaware of the noise she was making!

“I mean, the detail that I can hear now it’s like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I was making that much noise. I need to be quieter!”

Treated with professional care, Regina received a comprehensive hearing assessment with Dr. Debra Hamila.

“I just love, love, love Dr. Hamila, she is such a professional and loving person. I was so impressed with the office and what she did with the ReSound, I just love her.”

Like many others, it takes years for people to realize they have a hearing problem. Regina described this moment as life-changing.

“You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again. Especially now I’m a full-time Grammy Nanny, I can hear so much more and it has enriched my life incredibly.”

What advice would you give to someone who is deliberating on taking the first step towards better hearing?

“My advice to them would be to have a hearing test. Especially as we age our hearing goes down. It’s really unfortunate that people carry their pride and are not willing to learn to walk with the rock in their shoe. You don’t realise you’re waking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again.”

Regina is one of many patients who has been impacted by our audiological services and we are proud to have been able to provide the tool towards better hearing and a lifetime of many more memories.