Open and laparoscopically assisted oesophagectomy: a prospective comparative study.
ABSTRACT OBJECTIVES: Although a number of studies have examined minimally invasive approaches for oesophagectomy, these procedures have typically been offered only to selected patients with the limited long-term follow-up data. The purpose of this prospective study was to assess the feasibility of performing laparoscopically assisted oesophagectomy (LAO) for all-comers and to compare the short- and long-term clinical outcomes of this surgical strategy with a matched cohort of patients who had undergone open surgery. METHODS: From November 2009, all patients referred for trans-thoracic resection of an oesophageal cancer underwent a two-stage laparoscopically assisted Ivor-Lewis oesophagectomy. This consisted of laparoscopic mobilization of the stomach and distal oesophagus, followed by open thoracotomy, thoracic lymphadectomy and intrathoracic anastomosis. The clinical and oncological outcomes of the first 39 consecutive LAO patients were compared with those of the preceding 31 consecutive patients who had undergone open surgery. RESULTS: Of the 39 LAO cases, 37 cases were completed laparoscopically and 2 were converted to an open surgery. LAO was associated with a decreased incidence of postoperative complications (specifically cardiac and infectious complications) when compared with open surgery (54 vs 77%, P = 0.04). In addition, the initial intensive care unit stay (2 vs 4 days; P = 0.04) and overall length of hospital stay (14 vs 18 days; P = 0.02) were shorter in the LAO group. In terms of pathological outcomes, the lymph node yield and R0 resection rate of the LAO and open groups were comparable, as were the 1-year survival rates (62 vs 61%, P = 0.97). CONCLUSIONS: LAO can be offered to an unselected cohort of all-comers with a reduced postoperative complication rate and comparable oncological and long-term survival outcomes when compared with open surgery.