Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) is increasingly performed to expect lower complication rate compared to open esophagectomy. Studies of minimally invasive Ivor Lewis esophagectomy (MIILE) with circular staplers have reported better outcomes compared to MIE with cervical anastomosis, but frequent anastomotic complications have also been reported. MIILE with linear staplers is a promising alternative, but the long-term functional and oncological outcomes are uncertain.
To evaluate the functional and oncological outcomes of MIILE with linear stapled anastomosis, a retrospective cohort study was performed in 104 patients who underwent MIILE with linear stapled anastomosis for esophageal malignant tumors. The primary endpoints were the overall complication and anastomotic leak rates. The secondary endpoints were late complications, overall and disease-free survival, and nutritional status at 6 and 12 months after MIILE.
Anastomotic leak occurred in 4 patients (3.8%). The short-term complication rate of grade IIIb or higher was 6.7%. During a median 57-month follow-up period, anastomotic stricture occurred in one patient, 7 required hiatal hernia repair, and 2 underwent conduit revision surgery. The 5-year overall survival and disease-free survival rates were 69.3% and 59.5%, respectively. Status of reflux esophagitis at the time of most recent evaluation was grade N/A/B/C/D in 52/10/10/13/8 among 93 patients who had follow-up endoscopy. The mean body weight loss at 6 and 12 months after MIILE was 11.3 and 11.8% with maintenance of the serum albumin level.
MIILE with linear stapled anastomosis is a safe procedure with a low anastomotic complication rate and favorable long-term functional and survival outcomes.