Minimally Invasive, Organ-preserving Surgery for Large Submucosal Tumors in the Abdominal Esophagus

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Surgical resection of submucosal tumors (SMTs) in the abdominal esophagus is not standardized. Enucleation may be a minimally invasive option, whereas its oncological validity is not very clear. Moreover, how to treat the esophageal wall defect after enucleation and necessity of additional antireflux procedure are also undetermined.


In 13 patients with a SMT originating the abdominal esophagus laparoscopic enucleation was performed with preserving the integrity of submucosa. When the muscular layer defect was <4 cm it was directly closed by suturing, whereas it was left open in case the defect was larger. Fundoplication was added when the esophagus was dissected posteriorly or the myotomy was not closed.


Tumors were resected en-bloc without rupture in all cases. In 5 patients myotomy was closed, whereas in the remaining 8 it was left open. In 11 patients fundoplication was added (Toupet in 5 and Dor in 6). The patients developed neither regurgitation nor stenosis postoperatively. The histopathologic findings revealed leiomyoma in 9 patients, whereas the other 4 were miscellaneous. The average tumor size was 5.5 cm (range, 2.8 to 8.8). Microscopically surgical margin was negative in all cases.


Laparoscopic enucleation of SMTs in the abdominal esophagus seems to be safe, reproducible operation enabling preservation of function of the lower esophagus and esophagogastric junction. Even when the muscular defect is not approximated additional fundoplication can minimize the risk of postoperative reflux disease.

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