Hybrid and total minimally invasive esophagectomy: how I do it
Esophagectomy is a major surgical procedure associated with a significant risk of morbidity and mortality. Minimally invasive esophagectomy is becoming the preferred approach because of the potential to limit surgical trauma, reduce respiratory complications, and promote earlier functional recovery. Various hybrid and total minimally invasive surgical techniques have been introduced in clinical practice over the past 20 years, and minimally invasive esophagectomy has been shown equivalent to open surgery concerning the short-term outcomes. Implementation of a minimally invasive esophagectomy program is technically demanding and requires a significant learning curve and the infrastructure of a dedicated multidisciplinary center where optimal staging, individualized therapy, and perioperative care can be provided to the patient. Both hybrid and total minimally invasive techniques of esophagectomy have proven safe and effective in expert centers. The choice of the surgical approach should be driven by preoperative staging, tumor site and histology, comorbidity, patient’s anatomy and physiological status, and surgeon’s experience.