Authors: Tania Triantafyllou, Pieter van der Sluis, Richard Skipworth & Bas P. L. Wijnhoven
Esophagectomy is considered the cornerstone of the radical treatment of esophageal cancer. In the past decades, minimally invasive techniques including robot-assisted approaches have become popular. The aim of minimally invasive surgery is to reduce the surgical trauma, resulting in faster recovery, reduction in complications, and better quality of life after surgery. Secondly, a more precise dissection may lead to better oncological outcomes. As such, minimally invasive esophagectomy is now seen by many as the standard surgical approach. However, evidence supporting this viewpoint is limited. This narrative review summarizes recent prospectively designed studies on minimally invasive esophagectomy.
Key Summary Points
Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) and robot-assisted esophagectomy (RAMIE) are currently evolving worldwide.
The main advantages proven by randomized trials comparing open esophagectomy with MIE (hybrid or totally MIE) are fewer pulmonary complications and lower overall morbidity.
MIE and RAMIE provide oncologic outcomes that are at least equivalent to those of open esophagectomy.
The potential benefits of RAMIE over MIE remain to be identified in currently ongoing studies.