Robotic-assisted Heller myotomy versus laparoscopic Heller myotomy for the treatment of esophageal achalasia: multicenter study

Santiago Horgan, Carlos Galvani, Maria V Gorodner, Pablo Omelanczuck, Fernando Elli, Federico Moser, Luis Durand, Miguel Caracoche, Jorge Nefa, Sergio Bustos, Phillip Donahue, Pedro Ferraina
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery: Official Journal of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2005, 9 (8): 1020-9; discussion 1029-30
Laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM) has become the standard treatment option for achalasia. The incidence of esophageal perforation reported is about 5%-10%. Robotically assisted Heller myotomy (RAHM) is emerging as a safe alternative to LHM. Data comparing the two approaches are scant. The aim of this study was to compare RAHM with LHM in terms of efficacy and safety for treatment of achalasia. A total of 121 patients underwent surgical treatment of achalasia at three institutions. A retrospective review of prospectively collected perioperative data was performed. Patients were divided into two groups: group A (RAHM), 59 patients, and group B (LHM), 62 patients. All the operations were completed using minimally invasive techniques. There were 63 women and 58 men, with a mean age of 45 +/- 19 years (14-82 years). Fifty-one percent of patients in group A and 95% of patients in group B reported weight loss. Duration of symptoms was equal for both groups. Dysphagia was the main complaint in both groups (P = NS). There was no difference in preoperative endoscopic treatment in both groups (44% versus 27%, P = NS). Operative time was significantly shorter for LHM in the first half of the experience (141 +/- 49 versus 122 +/- 44 minutes, P < .05). However, in the last 30 cases there was no difference in operative time between the groups (P = NS). Intraoperative complications (esophageal perforation) were more frequent in group B (16% versus 0%). The incidence of postoperative heartburn did not differ by group. There were no deaths. At 18 and 22 months, 92% and 90% of patients had relief of their dysphagia. This study suggests that RAHM is safer than LHM, because it decreases the incidence of esophageal perforation to 0%, even in patients who had previous treatment. At short-term follow-up, relief of dysphagia was equally achieved in both groups

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