Transoral robotic surgery (TORS), which, Dr. Ruckenstein said, has revolutionized the way oral cavity, oropharyngeal, and pharyngeal cancers are treated, was started as a resident research project at Penn and developed from there.
Another of Dr. Ruckenstein’s residents developed the Penn Acoustic Neuroma Quality-of-Life Scale (PANQOL) under his supervision. “It’s the only disease-specific quality of life questionnaire for patients with acoustic neuromas.” The PANQOL touches on the many issues that nonspecific quality-of-life measures don’t typically cover, such as hearing loss, balance, and facial muscle weakness, that affect those who have these small to medium-size tumors. Identifying symptoms like these in tumors that are usually not life threatening can help uncover better treatment algorithms for patients. The PANQOL has been translated into multiple languages, including Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Chinese, and is used worldwide.