Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy: A Comparative Study of Transhiatal Laparoscopic Approach Versus Laparoscopic Right Transthoracic Esophagectomy

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BackgroundThe development of minimally invasive surgery gave birth to an interest in a mini-invasive approach to esophageal cancer; however, it is still considered to be one of the most complex gastrointestinal surgical operations, and many questions still remain unanswered, regarding the oncologic results of a mini-invasive approach in long-term follow-ups. Here, the authors report on the short-term and long-term results of a series of laparoscopic esophagectomies.Patients and MethodsFrom January 2002 to March 2006, 22 nonrandomized patients were recruited to undergo an esophagectomy for neoplastic disease. The esophagectomy and esophagogastroplasty were carried out using the laparoscopic transhiatal technique in 9 patients; whereas, a combined laparoscopic and right-transthoracic incision was performed in the other 13 patients.ResultsThe mean follow-up was 21±3.23 months (mean±SD); range, 2 to 46 months. The overall survival rate resulted 84.0% at 12 months, 61.3% at 24 months, and 51.0% at 36 months. The proportions of cumulative survival showed significant differences when the following variables were considered: site of neoplasm (lower esophagus), American Society of Anesthesiologists 2, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type of surgical procedure, and inclusion in neoadjuvant protocol and staging. Recurrence rates were 3 (25%) in the radio-chemotherapy–treated group, and 5 (50%) in the primary surgery group (P=n.s.).ConclusionsThe two-year survival rates (61.3%) recorded in our series are comparable with those reported in other series of both laparoscopic and open surgeries. The logical conclusion was that a less invasive procedure did not imply a less curative one.

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