Transhiatal versus Left Transthoracic Esophagectomy for Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer; The Impact of Surgical Approach on Postoperative Complications

Mohammad Reza Mir, Marzieh Lashkari, Reza Ghalehtaki, Ali Mir, AmirHossein Latif


Esophagectomy is the mainstay of treatment for esophageal cancer. Although different surgical approaches have been described, choosing the most appropriate technique is still on debate. We compared the complications of transhiatal esophagectomy (THE) versus left transthoracic esophagectomy (LTE) among a group of Iranian patients with gastroesophageal junction cancer.

This was a retrospective study between 2011 and 2013 on 40 patients with gastroesophageal cancer. 23 patients underwent THE and the others underwent LTE. 30-day postoperative mortality, complications, duration of hospital stay, and number of dissected lymph nodes were studied.

37.5% of the patients had squamous cell carcinoma. No mortality was seen. Totally, 10 patients suffered from complications. Cardiac and pulmonary complications occurred in eight and six patients, respectively. No patients suffered from vocal cord injuries and anastomotic leakage. The mean duration of postoperative hospital stay was 11.82 ± 3.8 days, and the mean number of dissected lymph nodes was 8.2 ± 3.9. No significant difference was seen between the two groups (p > 0.05).

Choosing between the approaches for resection of gastroesophageal cancer may not impact the complications and mortality rates. We propose that LTE approach could be used safely in comparison with THE, and that selecting between THE and LTE may be based on the surgeon’s preference and experience.


Esophagectomy, Gastroesophageal junction cancer, Transhiatal esophagectomy, Left transthoracic esophagectomy, Complication, Iran

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