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Review of open and minimal access approaches to oesophagectomy for cancer


  • An earlier version of this work was presented to the Annual Meeting of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, Edinburgh, UK, May 2006, and published in abstract form as Br J Surg 2006; 93(Suppl 1): 71–73



Minimally invasive approaches to oesophagectomy are being used increasingly, but there remain concerns regarding safety and oncological acceptability. This study reviewed the outcomes of totally minimally invasive oesophagectomy (MIO; 41 patients), hybrid procedures (partially minimally invasive; 34) and open oesophagectomy (46) for oesophageal cancer from a single unit.


Demographic and clinical data were entered into a prospective database. MIO was thoracoscopic–laparoscopic–cervical anastomosis, hybrid surgery was thoracoscopic–laparotomy or laparoscopic gastric mobilization–thoracotomy, and open resections were left thoracoabdominal (LTA), Ivor Lewis (IL) or transhiatal oesophagectomy (THO).


There were 118 resections for carcinoma (23 squamous cell carcinoma, 95 adenocarcinoma) and three for high-grade dysplasia. MIO took longer than open surgery (median 6·5 h versus 4·8 h for THO, 4·7 h for IL and LTA). MIO required less epidural time (P < 0·001 versus IL and LTA, P = 0·009 versus thorascopic hybrid, P = 0·014 versus laparoscopic IL). Despite a shorter duration of single-lung ventilation with MIO compared with IL and LTA (median 90 versus 150 min; P = 0·013), respiratory complication rates and duration of hospital stay were similar. There were seven anastomotic leaks after MIO, four after hybrid procedures and one following open surgery. Mortality rates were 2, 6 and 2 per cent respectively. Lymph node harvests were similar between all groups, as were rates of complete (R0) resection in patients with locally advanced tumours.


MIO is technically feasible. It does not reduce pulmonary complications or length of stay. Oncological outcomes appear equivalent. Copyright © 2010 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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