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Preventing anastomotic complications: early results of laparoscopic gastric devascularization two weeks prior to minimally invasive esophagectomy



Laparoscopic gastric devascularization (LGD) is an innovative method to improve gastric conduit perfusion and improve anastomotic healing following esophagectomy. This study reports our early experience with LGD performed two weeks prior to minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) with intrathoracic anastomosis.


We performed a retrospective review of all patients who underwent LGD prior to minimally invasive Ivor Lewis esophagectomy between August 2014 and July 2015 at a large academic medical center. LGD included staging laparoscopy with division of the short gastric vessels, left gastric artery and coronary vein, and posterior gastric attachments. Patient demographics, comorbid conditions, clinical stage, use of neoadjuvant chemoradiation, perioperative events, length of hospital stay, 60-day readmission, and complications were collected and analyzed.


Thirty patients underwent LGD prior to minimally invasive Ivor Lewis esophagectomy, and 21 (70 %) received neoadjuvant chemoradiation. LGD was performed a median of 14.5 (9–42) days prior to esophagectomy. Median operative time was 39 (18–56) minutes, and median length of stay was 0 (0–1) days. There were no complications or readmissions following LGD. MIE was completed laparoscopically in 93 % of patients; two patients required conversion to an open procedure due to mediastinal inflammation following neoadjuvant chemoradiation. Five patients (17 %) were readmitted within 60 days of surgery: one (3 %) patient with an anastomotic leak, two (7 %) with pneumonia, and two (7 %) with post-operative nausea and vomiting. One patient (3 %) expired following an anastomotic leak that required reoperation, and no patients developed an anastomotic stricture during the study period.


LGD with delayed esophageal resection and reconstruction can be safely performed two weeks prior to MIE with minimal morbidity. The low rate of anastomotic leak (3 %) and absence of anastomotic strictures in this series suggest that this approach may successfully improve gastroesophageal anastomotic healing and reduce the rate of anastomotic complications reported with single-stage approaches.

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Correspondence to Kyle A. Perry.

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David Strosberg, Robert Merritt and Kyle Perry have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Strosberg, D.S., Merritt, R.E. & Perry, K.A. Preventing anastomotic complications: early results of laparoscopic gastric devascularization two weeks prior to minimally invasive esophagectomy. Surg Endosc 31, 1371–1375 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-016-5122-4

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  • Laparoscopic gastric devascularization
  • Minimally invasive esophagectomy
  • Anastomotic leak
  • Anastomotic stricture
  • Esophageal cancer