Minimally invasive esophagectomy or robotic esophagectomy is surgery to remove part or the entire esophagus. Esophagus is the tube that moves food from the throat to the stomach. After that, the esophagus is rebuilt from part of the stomach or part of the large intestine. Usually to treat Cancer of the esophagus, esophagectomy is recommended.
During minimally invasive esophagectomy or robotic esophagectomy, small surgical incisions are made in the upper belly, chest, or neck. In order to perform the surgery a laparoscope & surgical tools are inserted through the incisions. (Esophagus can also be removed by open method which require larger.)
The process of esophagectomy
- General anesthesia is given and this will keep patient asleep and pain-free.
- The surgeon makes 3 to 4 small incision in the upper belly, chest, or lower neck. Usually the sizes of this incision are about 1-inch (2.5 cm) long.
- Through on of the incision laparoscope is inserted into the upper belly. The laparoscope has a light and camera attached at the end because of which a video from the camera appears on a monitor in the operating room. This lets the surgeon to view the area that is operated. Through the other cuts other surgical tools are inserted.
- During the surgery a surgeon, depending on how much of your esophagus is effected he removes the esophagus
- During the procedure if part of the esophagus is removed, the remaining ends are stitched together.
- if cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the chest and belly them are likely removed
- A feeding tube is placed in the small intestine so that the patient can be fed during they are recovering from surgery.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Cancer is the most common reason to remove a part or the entire esophagus. A patient may undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy before the surgery.
In some condition the lower esophagus may also be removed to treat:
- Achalasia (ring of muscle in the esophagus does not function well)
- Barrett’s esophagus (the lining of the esophagus gets sever damage and it can lead to cancer)
- Severe trauma
All surgeries come with some risk.
The surgical risks for this surgery, or for problems after surgery, might be higher than normal if:
- Are older than 60 to 65
- Smoker has higher risk
- Are obese
- Heavy weight loss because of cancer
- Are on steroid medicines
- Had cancer drugs before the surgery
Risks for this surgery are:
- Acid reflux
- Injury to the stomach, lung, intestines, or other organs during surgery
- Leakage of the contents of the esophagus or stomach (where the surgeon joined them together)
- The connection between the stomach and esophagus becomes narrow
Benefits of robotic esophagectomy
- Less surgical blood loss
- Shorter recovery times
- Minimal scarring
- Improved pain management
Minimally invasive esophagectomy; Removal of the esophagus – minimally invasive; Achalasia – esophagectomy; Barrett esophagus – esophagectomy; Esophageal cancer – esophagectomy – laparoscopic; Cancer of the esophagus – esophagectomy – laparoscopic