Minimally invasive esophagectomy: Chinese experiences

Miao Lin, Yaxing Shen, Mingxiang Feng, Lijie Tan


Background: Esophageal cancer is one of the four most common cancers in China. Its pathological type of esophageal cancer in China is mostly squamous cell carcinoma, which is quite different from western countries. Surgery is the first choice for resectable patients. Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) has become a standard surgical approach for esophageal cancer in the world, including China. This paper provides some introduction and experience of MIE in China.
Methods: As one of the largest esophageal cancer center in China, our center performed the first case of MIE in China in 1994, and the total number of our MIE cases has exceeded 1,300. The development of MIE in China contains the lateral prone position, the esophageal suspension, and so on.
Results: In the past two decades, we have performed more than 1,300 cases of MIE. The incidence of perioperative cardiopulmonary complications was decreased in MIE group. The technical progress and innovation, including patient position and esophageal suspension, helps shorten the duration of operation, and facilitate the dissection of lymph nodes.
Conclusions: MIE has become the standard surgical procedure for resectable esophageal cancer patients in China. The advantages of MIE are the lower incidence of perioperative complication than open surgery. Technical improvement is still in progress.