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Surg Endosc. 1999 Mar;13(3):218-23.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer.

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  • 1Second Department of Surgery of Fukuoka University School of Medicine, Johnanku-Nanakuma 7-45-1, 814-0180, Fukuoka, Japan.



The Ivor-Lewis procedure is a radical, invasive, and effective procedure for the resection of most esophageal cancers. To minimize invasiveness, we performed thoracoscopic and video-assisted esophagectomy and mediastinal dissection for esophageal cancer.


From November 1995 to June 1997, 23 patients with intrathoracic esophageal cancer, excluding T4 cancers, underwent thoracoscopic and video-assisted esophagectomy. Bilateral cervical dissections were performed as well as preparation of the gastric tube and transhiatal dissection of the lower esophagus. The cervical esophagus was cut using a stapler knife, and esophageal reconstruction was performed through the retrosternal route or anterior chest wall. Next, thoracoscopic mediastinal dissection and esophagectomy were performed.


The mean volume of blood loss was 163 +/- 122 ml; mean thoracoscopic surgery duration, 111 +/- 24 min; mean postoperative day for patients to start eating, 8 +/- 3 days; and mean hospital stay, 26 +/- 8 days. No patient developed systemic inflammatory response syndrome postoperatively. Tracheal injury occurred and was repaired during the thoracoscopic approach in one patient. No patients died within 30 days after surgery. Postoperative complications included transient recurrent nerve palsy in five patients, pulmonary secretion retention requiring tracheotomy in two, and chylothorax in one. Five patients died of cancer recurrence within 1 year of surgery.


Our surgical experience with thoracoscopic and video-assisted esophagectomy indicate that it is a feasible and useful procedure.

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