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Minerva Chirurgica 2008 December;63(6):481-95

language: English

Minimally invasive esophagectomy. An update on the options available

Carr S. R. 1, Luketich J. D. 2

1 Department of Surgery US Naval Hospital Guam, Agana Heights, Guam
2 The Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Pittsburgh, PA, USA


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Minimally invasive techniques have been successfully applied to esophageal surgery. Initially, they were used for benign disease, but as experience has increased, so have the indications for minimally invasive esophageal surgery. Today, minimally invasive esophagectomy has been reported in all types of patients with a variety of esophageal diseases and different stages of esophageal cancer. Currently, the biggest limitation for proceeding with minimally invasive esophagectomy is experience in performing the procedure. This article provides an update on the myriad of options for performing minimally invasive esophagectomy including advantages and disadvantages of each option and outlines the surgical technique for each. It highlights the current debate on open versus minimally invasive esophagectomy. Since there is no consensus on the operative approach to open esophagectomy, it is not surprising that a number of debates over the best operative approach to minimally invasive esophagectomy exist today.

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