Head & Neck Surgery by PHOENIX’S TOP DOCTORS

As with any surgical procedure, it’s important for you to know and trust the team that will be performing it.

Dr. Kurt E. Heiland and Dr. Cheryl A. MacKechnie are specialists in performing robotic-assisted minimally invasive head and neck surgery. The use of this transoral robotic surgery reduces recovery time and minimizes surgical risks. Transoral robotic surgery is often used for certain types of throat cancer and sleep apnea.

This ground-breaking procedure allows you to avoid or decreases the intensity of radiation therapy, lessening the side effects of traditional treatment, with benefits including no Tracheostomy, shorter hospital stays, and fewer complications.

The use of TORS results in shorter, virtually scarless head and neck surgery with a quicker recovery. TORS is performed through your mouth, providing unprecedented access to the small and often difficult-to-reach areas of the mouth and throat.

Dr. Kurt E. Heiland was recently featured in the Phoenix Magazine 2018 Top Doctor issue. He has been chosen by his peers for more than 11 years in the Otolaryngologist Specialty (what most of us call ENT).

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 was featured in the Phoenix Top Doctor’s list in 2020, Dr. Mackechnie is board certified in Otolaryngology and treats a broad range of ear, nose, and throat conditions.


Q: Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) – so, what is it?

A: Designed to be as minimally invasive as possible, this surgical procedure removes cancer of the tonsils, tongue base, and larynx using a highly sophisticated machine called the ‘da Vinci robot.’ It can reduce recovery time and risks often associated with surgical procedures.

If you’re suffering with sleep apnea, this surgery can be used to help ease that too.

Q: What are the benefits of this procedure?

A: TORS of the head and neck allows for the removal of tumors in a more efficient fashion than in traditional open operations. As a result, recovery and ultimate patient function and appearance can be much improved. No open neck incision or flap closure is required.

Q: How long is recovery?

A: Recovery following TORS is significantly shorter compared to open procedures. Patients experience fewer side effects and are able to return to normal activities sooner. Patients should contact Dr. Heiland’s office with further questions about what to expect following the transoral robotic surgery (TORS).

Q: Who is a candidate for transoral robotic surgery?

A: Not all patients with cancer of the tonsils, tongue base, or larynx are candidates for this procedure. TORS is only offered if it has the potential of reducing side effects of treatment compared to other available treatment options. Sleep apnea patients who fail CPAP are potential candidates for TORS.

The decision to offer TORS or recommend another form of treatment is best made by an experienced head and neck surgeon like Kurt E. Hieland, M.D.

Q: What about side effects?

A: The primary side effects of surgery include an initial period of discomfort much like a tonsillectomy, and also a small risk of bleeding after surgery. Problems with speech and swallowing after TORS are usually minor.

Only 3 in 100 patients will experience post operative bleeding, with only 1 out of 100 patients requiring intervention to stop bleeding.

Q: Will I have any visible scars?

A: TORS leaves no external scars but is often combined with the removal of lymph nodes from the neck, which can leave a single scar on the neck. Every effort is made to make this scar as inconspicuous as possible.

Dr. Kurt Heiland and PA Julie Kramer helped me in my time of need. I had swollen tonsils, adenoids, and a deviated septum. I had gone two months of getting no sleep because of how badly swollen the tonsils would block my airway passages. I went in for surgery a year ago today, and I am so glad to have it done. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I can not thank you two enough for helping me get better.

Brandon G

“I just wanted to say thank you for being so kind and helping me through my procedure. I feel amazing now! Dr. Heiland, you and your staff are amazing and my husband and I couldn’t thank you enough!”
Maigon Lang

“Dr. Heiland is one of the very few doctors I trust implicitly, and he and his staff are very friendly and attentive. Although my medical needs are normally provided by the V.A., I am glad to pay out-of-pocket, and drive across town for the peace of mind Dr. Heiland gives me.”
Kit Parker

Book Your INITIAL Consultation