Enucleation of submucosal tumors of the esophagus minimally invasive versus open approach

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Surgical enucleation of submucosal tumors (SMTs) of the esophagus (mostly leiomyomas) is indicated when either the tumors are symptomatic or their biological behavior is unclear. The classic approach is a thoracotomy, but tumor enucleation can now also be performed via thoracoscopy or, for distal tumors, via laparoscopy.


We assessed our experience with the different approaches in a total of 25 patients (n = 13 minimally invasive approach and n = 12 open surgery). Enucleation of the SMT was the basic surgical principle; the choice of the approach was based on the preference of the surgeon.


Compared to open surgery, the minimally invasive approach reduced pulmonary complications, hospital stay, and postoperative wound-related pain. The operating time was the same for both approaches.


Minimally invasive approaches are suitable for the surgical enucleation of submucosal esophageal tumors. Thoracoscopic and laparoscopic techniques are recommended as standard procedures in experienced centers.

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