COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Minimally Invasive Versus Open Esophagectomy for Esophageal Cancer: A Comparison of Early Surgical Outcomes From The Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database

Smita Sihag, Andrzej S Kosinski, Henning A Gaissert, Cameron D Wright, Paul H Schipper
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2016, 101 (4): 1281-8; discussion 1288-9
26704412

BACKGROUND: Open esophagectomy results in significant morbidity and mortality. Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) has become increasingly popular at specialized centers with the aim of improving perioperative outcomes. Numerous single-institution studies suggest MIE may offer lower short-term morbidity. The two approaches are compared using a large, multiinstitutional database.

METHODS: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) National Database (v2.081) was queried for all resections performed for esophageal cancer between 2008 and 2011 (n = 3,780). Minimally invasive approaches included both transhiatal (n = 214) and Ivor Lewis (n = 600), and these were compared directly with open transhiatal (n = 1,065) and Ivor Lewis (n = 1,291) procedures, respectively. Thirty-day outcomes were examined using nonparametric statistical testing.

RESULTS: Both open and MIE groups were similar in terms of preoperative risk factors. Morbidity and all-cause mortality were equivalent at 62.2% and 3.8%. MIE was associated with longer median procedure times (443.0 versus 312.0 minutes; p < 0.001), but a shorter median length of hospital stay (9.0 versus 10.0 days; p < 0.001). Patients who underwent MIE had higher rates of reoperation (9.9% versus 4.4%; p < 0.001) and empyema (4.1% versus 1.8%; p < 0.001). Open technique led to an increased rate of wound infections (6.3% versus 2.3%; p < 0.001), postoperative transfusion (18.7% versus 14.1%; p = 0.002), and ileus (4.5% versus 2.2%; p = 0.002). Propensity score-matched analysis confirmed these findings. High- and low-volume centers had similar outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Early results from the STS National Database indicate that MIE is safe, with comparable rates of morbidity and mortality as open technique. Longer procedure times and a higher rate of reoperation following MIE may reflect a learning curve.

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