Crenshaw, Gregory D.; Shankar, Suven S.; Brown, Russell E.; Abbas, Abbas E.; Bolton, John S.
Esophageal cancer resection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. To date, no standardized technique exists. In this study, we analyze our short-term results in 92 minimally invasive resections performed over the past 10 years in an attempt to identify technical factors, which contribute to improved short-term outcomes. A retrospective review of 92 minimally invasive esophagectomies was performed at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation from 1999 through 2009. Data collected included preoperative stage, whether or not preoperative chemoradiation was used, technique of minimally-invasive resection, technique of esophagogastric anastomosis, margin status, anastomotic leak, conduit necrosis, gastric conduit failure of any type, and operative mortality. Gastric stapling was done either laparoscopically (intracorporeal) or through a mini-laparotomy (extracorporeal). Ninety-two patients met criteria for this study. There was a significant difference in the incidence of positive gastric margins (P = 0.04), anastomotic leak (P = 0.045), conduit necrosis (P = 0.03), and any gastric conduit failure (P = 0.02) favoring the extracorporeal group. The overall short-term morbidity and operative mortality with minimally invasive esophagectomy is comparable to the results obtained with open techniques. A relatively simple modification of the operative technique-performing extracorporeal stapling of the gastric conduit-led to a significant reduction in the incidence of gastric conduit failures when compared with the intracorporeal stapling technique.