Survival and quality of life after minimally invasive esophagectomy: a single-surgeon experience

Abhishek Sundaram, Juan C Geronimo, Brittany L Willer, Masato Hoshino, Zachary Torgersen, Arpad Juhasz, Tommy H Lee, Sumeet K Mittal
Surgical Endoscopy 2012, 26 (1): 168-76

BACKGROUND: Reports on quality of life (QOL) after minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) have been limited. This report compares perioperative outcomes, survival, and QOL after MIEs with open transthoracic esophagectomy (TTE) and open transhiatal esophagectomy (THE).

METHODS: After institutional review board approval, retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database identified patients who underwent esophageal resection for esophageal cancer at Creighton University between August 2003 and August 2010. Patients with preoperative stage 4 disease, emergent procedures, laparoscopic transhiatal esophagectomies, or esophagojeujunostomies were excluded from the study. The study patients were categorized as having undergone open TTE, open THE, or MIE. Overall survival (OS) was the interval between diagnosis and death or follow-up assessment. Disease-free survival (DFS) was the interval between surgery and recurrence, death, or follow-up assessment. For the patients who survived at least 1 year after surgery, QOL was assessed using European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC-QLQ, version 3.0) and esophageal module (EORTC-QLQ OES 18) questionnaires.

RESULTS: The study criteria were satisfied by 104 patients. Lymph node harvest with MIE (median = 20) was similar to that with open TTEs (median = 19) and significantly higher (P < 0.001) than that with open THEs (median = 12). The percentage of patients requiring intraoperative blood transfusion in the MIE group (23.4%) was significantly lower (P < 0.001) than in the open TTE (73.1%) and THE (67.7%) groups. The volume of intraoperative blood product transfusion was significantly lower for the MIE patients (median = 0 ml) than for the open TTE (median = 700 ml) and THE (median = 700 ml) patients. The incidence of respiratory complications with MIEs (10.64%) was significantly lower than with open TTEs (34.61%) and THEs (32.26%). The groups did not differ significantly in terms of R0 resection rates, OS, DFS, or QOL.

CONCLUSIONS: MIEs offer a safe and viable alternative to open esophagectomies because they reduce the need and volume of intraoperative blood product transfusion and postoperative respiratory complications without compromising oncological clearance, survival, and QOL.

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