The definitive treatment of esophageal cancer remains surgical resection. Morbidity and mortality are highly influenced by the success of the anastomosis created in the reconstruction of the resected esophagus. The results of an anastomotic technique that creates an esophageal mucosal tube are analyzed.Methods
The medical records of all patients undergoing esophagectomy at a single institution by 3 surgeons between January 2002 and July 2008 were reviewed. Patients who underwent a 2-layer, hand-sewn, esophageal anastomosis using a mucosal tube were included. The unique aspect of the anastomosis was the creation of an esophageal mucosal tube that facilitates a tension-free, precise mucosal approximation.Results
Of the 61 patients who underwent esophageal reconstructions (60 gastric, 1 colonic), 49 (80%) had a diagnosis of esophageal neoplasm. Of those with cancer, 20 (41%) had neoadjuvant therapy before the resection. Two patients presented with perforation. The anastomoses were intrathoracic in 57 of 61 (93%) and cervical in 4 cervical. There were no operative deaths. All patients underwent contrast study at an average of 5 days postoperatively. The anastomotic leak rate was 2% (1 of 61). Postoperative dilations (mean, 1.3 dilations) were done in 12 of 61 patients (20%), using a low symptom threshold for endoscopy and dilation.Conclusions
The use of the esophageal mucosal tube and 2-layer anastomosis is a robust technique that results in a low leak rate. Strictures are minimal and easily dilated if they occur. Use of a gastrotomy larger than 2.5 cm may decrease stricture rates.