Novel esophageal reconstruction technique via transmediastinal route from posterior to anterior mediastinum after esophagectomy

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Abstract

Background

The incidence of metachronous esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC) after head and neck cancer (HNC) and in elderly patients has increased. Both elderly ESCC patients and ESCC patients after HNC surgery are at potential risk for dysphagia, and for the latter, surgery in the neck is difficult. An intrathoracic anastomosis that bypasses the cervical procedure is preferable to preserve swallowing function and reduce surgical risk. In gastrectomized patients, because the stomach cannot be used as a substitute, securing graft blood supply is critical, but microvascular anastomosis cannot be easily added in procedures for intrathoracic posterior mediastinal reconstruction. Thus, we have developed a novel technique for esophageal reconstruction in gastrectomized patients who are elderly or who had undergone HNC surgery, enabling concomitant intrathoracic anastomosis and microvascular anastomosis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness and safety of this technique.

Methods

The jejunal or ileocolic graft is first pulled up through the anterior mediastinum and is then passed into the right thoracic cavity via a small hole made in the anterior mediastinal pleura. The graft is finally anastomosed with the remnant esophagus in the upper posterior mediastinum. Thereafter, microvascular anastomosis is performed in the retrosternal space.

Results

Four patients underwent this new reconstruction procedure with no significant postoperative complications, good swallowing function postoperatively, and no retention of food in the graft.

Conclusions

This novel transmediastinal reconstruction technique is a possible option for highly selected patients to enable intrathoracic anastomosis and the addition of microvascular anastomosis.

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