Analysis of Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy at a Single Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques








Esophagectomy; MIE; Veteran


© Copyright 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2017. Background: To date, there are no published studies focusing on the benefits of minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) versus open esophagectomy at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Our primary outcome was the incidence of esophageal malignancy in the veteran population and the postoperative morbidity following traditional and MIE for malignancy. Design: Retrospective analysis of the incidence of esophageal malignancy at a Veteran Integrated Service Network (VISN) 5 VAMC reported to the VAMC Esophageal Tumor Registry between 2003 and 2016 and outcomes of the veterans who received esophagectomy for malignancy. Patients were followed for 5 years following diagnosis of esophageal malignancy. Results: The Washington DC VAMC Tumor Registry recorded over 130 individuals with a new diagnosis of esophageal cancer between 2003 and 2016; 18 patients underwent an open transhiatal or Ivor Lewis esophagectomy and nine underwent an Ivor Lewis MIE. Surgical candidates had an average stage less than two (T1-3, N0-1, M0) and nonsurgical candidates had an average stage greater than three. Age, body mass index, smoking status, or renal function at time of surgery was similar between the two surgical groups. Patients who underwent an MIE had less blood loss (222 cc versus 822 cc, P < .001), fewer transfusions (11% versus 56%, P = .027), and more nodes harvested (10.33 versus 2.72, P < .001) with no change in leak rate (11% versus 17%, P = .703) or postoperative mortality (0% versus 6%, P = .490) compared to traditional esophagectomy. Conclusions: This report supports the migration toward MIE for malignancy and reemphasizes that veterans present with advanced disease.

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