Esophagectomy with extended lymphadenectomy improves prognosis but it is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The thoracoscopic approach is associated with fewer pulmonary complications. Abdominal wall injury greatly affects pulmonary function and complication rates during the acute postoperative phase. In this study we aimed to compare the incidence of pulmonary complications and respiratory recovery after thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position with hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery (HALS) versus open laparotomy (OL).Methods.
This was a case-matched control study of patients with esophageal cancer who underwent thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position. Thirty-two patients in the HALS group and 32 patients in the OL group were selected by the use of propensity score matching. Operative outcomes and perioperative changes in respiratory function were compared.Results.
There was no operative mortality in either group. Estimated blood loss was less in the HALS group (P < .001). The incidence of postoperative pneumonia was 6.2% (4/64) overall; it was less in the HALS group (0%) than in the OL group (12.5%) (P = .016). There were no differences in preoperative vital capacity (VC) and percent predicted vital capacity (%VC). Each parameter, including the ratio of the postoperative to preoperative %VC (%VC ratio), reached its nadir on postoperative day 7 in both groups but was greater in the HALS group (VC, 2.91 ± 0.68 L vs 2.53 ± 0.53 L, P = .018; %VC, 90.62 ± 16.92% vs 78.91 ± 16.65%, P = .007; %VC ratio, 80.90 ± 9.87% vs 72.09 ± 11.95%, P = .002). At 1 and 3 months, respiratory recovery was seen in both groups but more so in the HALS group. At 6 months, further respiratory recovery was seen in both groups, without any significant intergroup differences.Conclusion.
During the acute phase after thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position, HALS is associated with less-restrictive ventilatory impairment, fewer subsequent pulmonary complications, and less blood loss than OL. The combination of HALS and thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position is less invasive on respiratory function.