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Minerva Chirurgica 2014 December;69(6):363-70

language: English

Minimally invasive esophagectomy and its current role in esophageal cancer

Predina J. D., Morse C. R.

Division of Thoracic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA


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The incidence of esophageal cancer has increased over the previous 4 decades. In 2014 alone, it is estimated that there will be 18,000 patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and 15,000 deaths from the disease.Esophagectomy, most commonly with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation to treat locoregional spread, is the primary vehicle to offer patients cure. Open approaches (transthoracic Ivor Lewis, transhiatal, left thoracoabdominal, and ‘three phase’ McKeown esophagectomy) have been the most common, and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.With this morbidity in mind, minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) has gained enthusiasm from the surgical community as an approach to minimize post-operative morbidity without sacrificing long-term outcomes. In this article, we review the basic steps of the three major approaches to MIE. We also review the recent data which supports the surgical field’s growing enthusiasm for this approach to esophageal cancer. Based on our review of current data, we conclude that patients undergoing MIE have improved short-term outcomes with regard to morbidity and quality of life, with no adverse effects of the quality of oncologic resection.

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