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Robot‐assisted thoracoscopic oesophagectomy for cancer. BJS 2009; 96: 878-886.

Published: 9th July 2009

Authors: J. Boone, M. E. I. Schipper, W. A. Moojen, I. H. M. Borel Rinkes, G. J. E. Cromheecke, R. van Hillegersberg et al.


Thoracoscopic oesophagectomy was introduced to reduce the morbidity of transthoracic oesophagectomy. The aim was to assess the short‐ and mid‐term results of robot‐assisted thoracoscopic oesophagectomy for oesophageal cancer.


Between October 2003 and May 2007, 47 patients with resectable oesophageal cancer underwent robot‐assisted thoracoscopic oesophagectomy. Clinical data were collected prospectively.


Conversion to thoracotomy was necessary in seven patients. Median operating time was 450 min and median blood loss 625 ml. Median postoperative ventilation time was 1 day, intensive care stay 3 days and hospital stay 18 days. Twenty‐one of 47 patients had pulmonary complications. Three patients died in hospital. A median of 29 (range 8–68) lymph nodes was dissected and R0 resection was achieved in 36 patients. Twenty‐three patients had stage IVa disease. After a median follow‐up of 35 months, median disease‐free survival was 15 (95 per cent confidence interval 12 to 18) months.


Robot‐assisted thoracoscopic oesophagectomy was oncologically acceptable. Operating time, blood loss and pulmonary complications might decrease with further experience. Copyright © 2009 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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