Minimally invasive and robotic esophagectomy: state of the art
Esophageal cancer is the eight most common cancer in the world and surgical resection remains the gold standard not only in providing the optimal chance for cure but also the best palliation for dysphagia. Esophagectomy is a complex operation and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality that are reported as 23–50% and 2–8% in western country. At the moment no gold standard techniques exist for esophagectomy. The choice of the technique depends on several factors; location of tumor and surgeon’s experience are probably the most relevant. Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE), performed in high volume centers, has shown to reduce the rate of complications with the same oncological outcome as open esophagectomy. The addition of robotic technique to MIE is relatively new and is gaining widespread acceptance. Robotic assisted minimally invasive esophagectomy (RAMIE) is safe and feasible, and its short-term results are comparable to conventional MIE. Randomized studies are needed to assess if there is any real benefit associated to the use of the robotic approach.