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ROBOTIC SURGERY REPAIRS CHILD'S LARYNGEAL CLEFT
December 26, 2012

A 5-year-old boy old has become the first pediatric patient in the western U.S. to undergo transoral robotic surgery (TORS) to repair his rare congenital condition, a laryngeal cleft. Leonidas Hill was born with both a laryngeal cleft and a cleft lip and palate, defects that occur during embryonic development, according to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His cleft is an extremely rare airway defect in the laryngotracheal wall that results in an abnormal opening between the larynx and the esophagus. This allows food to get into the airways and even the lungs.

Hill's cleft, which was classified as type 3 (type 4 is the most severe), extended beyond his voice box and into his trachea, leading to tracheomalacia, a condition that occurs in newborns in which the cartilage of the trachea has not developed properly. Because of this, the trachea walls are floppy and collapse, resulting in breathing difficulties. Hill's breathing difficulties began soon after birth, and he underwent a tracheotomy-tube placement as an infant to help with his airway issues. UCLA surgery professor Abie Mendelsohn, MD, operated on the boy using a special carbon-dioxide laser-fiber adapter for the robot to destroy the cleft's inner lining, which allowed for wound healing of the cleft. Following the laser procedure, she used the robot to transorally place sutures within the larynx and trachea to hold the two ends of the cleft together.

The boy made a speedy recovery and was back at school within days, according to the university. His prognosis is good, with the hope of removing his tracheotomy tube soon.

COFFEE DRINKING MAY HALVE RISK OF MOUTH AND THROAT CANCER
December 26, 2012

A new study from the US finds people who drink more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day have half the risk of dying from oral/pharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancer as people who drink it either occasionally or not at all. However, the researchers say their findings need to be confirmed by more research, and for now should just be received as good news for coffee drinkers and not be used as a reason to recommend everyone should drink 4 cups of coffee a day.

Lead author Janet Hildebrand and colleagues from the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Atlanta, Georgia, write about their findings in a paper published online first on 9 December in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

HEY DENTISTS! MAKE 'EM LAUGH!
December 26, 2012

Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, has been used routinely in dental offices since 1863. It’s a safe, effective sedation option for dental patients seeking a way to control feeling overly anxious about their treatments.

Nearly 75% of American adults experience mild to severe dental anxiety. Causes for dental fears are varied, and may include:

Previous painful experiences at the dentist’s office
Dealing with general anxiety, mood, or posttraumatic stress disorders
Feeling out of control or helpless
Having low pain threshold or fear of pain
Embarrassment about the look of teeth
Phobic about needles and/or anxious about drills
Sensitive gag reflex

If you do suffer fear or anxiety about dentistry, the good news is that most dentists offer sedation dentistry. One of the most common forms of sedation is nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas.

Nitrous oxide is an odorless gas inhaled through a comfortable mask. Actually, most nitrous oxide machines produce a mixture of 70% nitrous oxide (N20) with 30% oxygen (H20), which keeps the inhalation sedation at safe and effective levels.

Dental patients have reported that breathing in laughing gas creates:

Light-headedness
Tingling in arms and legs
Floating sensations
A sense of comfortable distance
Euphoria or giddiness
Tendency to giggle

In most cases, patients don’t experience side effects from nitrous oxide. A very few may temporarily experience sore throats, inflamed nasal passages, or coughing. You should not feel sleepy, nauseas, or unpleasant in any way. If you do, please tell your dentist so they can adjust the N20 dosage or use a different sedation option.

Tags: dental anxiety, dental fears, dental sedation, inhalation sedation, laughing gas, nitrous oxide, sedation dentistry