Article Abstract

Implementation of minimally invasive esophagectomy in a tertiary referral center for esophageal cancer

Authors: Magnus Nilsson, Satoshi Kamiya, Mats Lindblad, Ioannis Rouvelas


Background: Esophagectomy remains the gold standard in the curative intent treatment of resectable esophageal cancer. However, this procedure is complex and associated with high risk of complications. In an effort to reduce the postoperative morbidity associated with open esophagectomy various minimally invasive techniques have been introduced and developed during the recent years. The aim of the current study was to present our 4.5-year experience of the gradual implementation of various minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) techniques in our tertiary referral center
Methods: From May 2012 a transitional period from conventional open esophagectomy to MIE was initiated. This period was preceded by fellowships and visits to expert centers abroad. Thereafter, a gradual implementation and refinement of the new techniques followed. Technique related data were collected prospectively.
Results: Between January 1st 2011 and December 31st 2016 a total of 249 patients underwent an esophagectomy in our unit. Seventy-six cases were performed through a conventional open esophagectomy and 173 by some type of MIE. An increasing utilization of MIE over this time period was seen and finally reached 100% of treatment intentions, during the last 2 years. Ten cases (5.7%) where converted to open approach. A decrease in leak rate, operating time, peroperative bleeding and hospital stay as well as an increasing number of harvested lymph nodes was observed during the implementation period.
Conclusions: The transition from conventional open esophagectomy to MIE was successful at our center. The implementation was overall safe with good postoperative outcomes, although changes in results required technical modifications over time.