Decreasing morbidity and mortality in 100 consecutive minimally invasive esophagectomies

Kfir Ben-David, George A Sarosi, Juan C Cendan, Drew Howard, Georgios Rossidis, Steven N Hochwald
Surgical Endoscopy 2012, 26 (1): 162-7

INTRODUCTION: Esophagectomy is a complex invasive procedure that requires exploration of multiple body cavities for removal and subsequent restoration of gastrointestinal continuity. In many institutions, esophagectomy morbidity and mortality rates remain high despite improvement of intensive care treatment. We reviewed our minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) experience of a consecutive series of 100 patients to analyze trends in morbidity and mortality as we transitioned from open to MIE.

METHODS: A total of 105 consecutive patients who underwent operative exploration for esophagectomy from August 2007 to January 2011 were reviewed. The preoperative evaluation, operative technique, and postoperative care of these cases were evaluated and analyzed for 100 patients who have had a MIE and compared with 32 open esophagectomies 2 years prior.

RESULTS: During the time frame of the study, 105 patients underwent an exploration for attempted esophagectomy. Resection was completed in 100 patients and was done for malignant disease in 95 patients and benign disease in 5 patients. There was one in hospital mortality due to a pulmonary embolism. There was no significant difference in postoperative complications consisting of transient left recurrent nerve injury (7 vs. 12.5%) or pneumonia (9 vs. 15.6%) in those who underwent MIE compared with open resection. However, wound infections were significantly less in patients who underwent MIE compared with open esophagectomy (1 vs. 12.5%, respectively, p = 0.01). Anastomotic leak (4 vs. 12.5%, p = 0.05) also was lower in those who underwent MIE. Median length of stay (LOS) was significantly less in patients who underwent MIE compared with open esophagectomy (7.5 vs. 14 days, p < 0.05). Finally, there was a trend toward improvement in median LOS in the 30 patients who underwent MIE during the most recent time period compared with the initial 17 patients who underwent MIE (7.5 vs. 10 days, p = 0.05)

CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the continued safe use of esophagectomy for selected esophageal diseases, including malignancy. Morbidity, especially wound infection, anastomotic leak, and length of stay is decreasing with the incorporation of minimally invasive techniques.

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