[Comparison of thoracoscopic esophagectomy and traditional esophagectomy in radical mediastinal lymphadenectomy for esophageal cancer]

Wenguang Xiao, Ke Ma, Lin Peng, Lihua Chen, Jintao He, Qiang Li, Yongtao Han
Zhonghua Wei Chang Wai Ke za Zhi, Chinese Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 2014, 17 (9): 911-4

OBJECTIVE: To compare thoracoscopic esophagectomy with traditional esophagectomy in radical mediastinal lymphadenectomy for esophageal cancer, and to explore the feasibility and safety of thoracoscopic mediastinal lymphadenectomy for esophagectomy.

METHODS: Clinical data associated with perioperation and mediastinal lymph nodes clearance of 304 patients undergoing radical operation of esophageal cancer via left neck-right chest-upper abdomen in our department from June 2009 to June 2011 were analyzed retrospectively. Among 304 cases, 199 received traditional open radical resection and 105 thoracoscopic esophagectomy. The intrathoracic mediastinal lymph node metastasis rate, extent of metastasis, time of operation, blood loss and complications between two groups were compared.

RESULTS: All the 304 cases completed their operations successfully. A total of 3724 mediastinal lymph nodes were removed, mean 12.3±7.0 per case, including 1065 in thoracoscopic group, mean 10.1±5.5 per case, and 2659 in open group, mean 13.3±7.5 per case, whose difference was significant. But further analysis according to the postoperative pathologic staging showed no significant difference of above lymph nodes removed between two groups. Mediastinal lymph node metastasis was found in 126 patients with a rate of 41.4%, which was 35.6% and 44.7% in thoracoscopic and open groups respectively without significant difference(P>0.05). The left laryngeal recurrent nerve lymph node metastasis rate in open group and thoracoscopic group was 16.1% and 6.7% respectively, and the difference was significant(P<0.05). Differences of lymph node metastasis rate in other regions were not significant between the two groups. There were 365 positive lymph nodes, and the lymph node metastasis degree was 9.8%. which was 8.2% and 10.5% in thoracoscopic group and open group respectively(P<0.05), besides metastasis degree of open group was much higher in right laryngeal recurrent nerve and subcarinal lymph node region. The overall complication rate was 36.8%, which was 28.6% in thoracoscopic group and 41.2% in open group respectively with significant difference(P<0.05). There were no significant differences in operative time and blood loss between the two groups(both P>0.05).

CONCLUSION: Radical mediastinal lymphadenectomy with thoracoscopic esophagectomy is technically safe and feasible for early to moderate stage esophageal cancer with similar lymph nodes removed and lower complication morbidity. In the early period of carrying out thoracoscopic radical mediastinal lymphadenectomy, laryngeal recurrent nerve and subcarinal lymph node region should be identified to prevent incidental injury.

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