Supracarinal dissection of the oesophagus and lymphadenectomy by MIE
Since 1995, video-assisted thoracoscopic oesophagectomy (VATS), according the same surgical principles as the Japanese open surgery, has been completed in 700 patients with oesophageal cancer. Our indication for VATS is (I) no extensive pleural adhesion; (II) no contiguous tumor spread; (III) pulmonary function capable of sustaining single-lung ventilation, and (IV) non radiated patients. We use 4 ports around a 5 cm mini-thoracotomy on 5th intercostal space. We laid emphasis on utilizing magnifying effect of video (5 to 20 magnifications), obtained by positioning the camera at close vicinity to the dissection. Magnified view facilitates recognizing the fine layer structure of the mediastinum. The dissection should be performed following this layer structure just like open the page of a book. Tearing the layer makes the dissection irrational and cause unnecessary bleeding and invasiveness. The microanatomies we recognize during upper mediastinal dissection are (I) the most outer layer below the mediastinal pleura are branches from the vagus nerve and thoracic sympathetic trunk; (II) there is no vessel flow in the nerves or out, in the field of dissection; (III) the ideal layer of dissection along the nerve is exposing the epineurium; (IV) the strongest fixing structures in the mediastinum are the vagal nerves and nerves form thoracic sympathetic trunk; (V) the stump of thoracic duct shows particular appearance because of the intramural smooth muscle; (VI) the lymphonodes in the mediastinum are fixed strongly with nerves and gently with vessels; (VII) the aorta is covered with fine fibrous membrane consisting of branches form thoracic sympathetic trunk, etc. Magnified view shows the microstructure of the lymph node such as the afferent lymphatics penetrating the capsule and the hilum structure consisting the efferent lymphatics, artery, vein and nerve. The direction of the hilum of nodes is defined in each region. Therefore, understanding the hilum direction facilitates rational dissection. The hospital mortality was four patients (0.6%). The rate of regional control was 95%. The 5-year survival rates of the patients with pStage 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 were 92%, 88%, 69%, 52% and 24%, respectively, which were favorably compared with open surgery.