Robotic-assisted minimally invasive esophagectomy: past, present and future
Esophagectomy for cancer of the esophagus is increasingly performed using minimally invasive techniques. After the introduction of minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) in the early 1990’s, robotic-assisted techniques followed after the turn of the millennium. The advent of robotic platforms has allowed the development of robotic-assisted minimally invasive esophagectomy (RAMIE) over the past 15 years. Although recent trials have shown superior peri-operative morbidity and quality of life compared to open esophagectomy, no randomized trials have compared RAMIE to conventional MIE. This paper summarizes the current literature on RAMIE and provides an overview of expected future developments in robotic surgery.