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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2002 April;57(2):111-6

language: Italian

Thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. Personal experience

Moretti M., De Giacomo T., Francioni F., Rendina E. A., Venuta F., Mercadante E., Coloni G. F.


Background. Esophageal surgery was recently modified by minimally-invasive approach. Personal experience with the thoracoscopic technique for esophagectomy in patients with early stage esophageal cancer is described.
Methods. From 1996 to 2000 at the Department of Thoracic Surgery of the University of Rome ''La Sapienza'', 10 patients, 7 male and 3 female, underwent video-thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. Median age was 64 years (range 53-72). With the patient in left lateral decubitus 4 ports were positioned between the 4th and 8th intercostal space. The thoracic esophagus was mobilized in the entire length and circumference with the connective tissue and peri-esophageal nodal stations. A cervicotomy followed by a median laparotomy for tubulization of the stomach was performed.
Results. Nobody required conversion to thoracotomy. No complication or intraoperative death were observed. The median thoracic time was 110 minutes (range 55-165). No death within 30 days after discharge was recorded. One patient presented left vocal cord paralysis. In one case a recurrence in cervical anastomosis two months after the operation was observed. One patient died after 36 month for metastatic spread. Eight patients are alive with no evidence of disease, with median follow-up of 20 months.
Conclusions. In our experience, the video-toracoscopic approach is a viable and safe option for the treatment of early stage esophageal cancer. Low incidence of complications and local recurrence should encourage a most frequent use of this procedure.z

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