General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 225–231 | Cite as

Usefulness of robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy

  • Yoshiaki Osaka
  • Shingo Tachibana
  • Yoshihiro Ota
  • Takeshi Suda
  • Yosuke Makuuti
  • Takafumi Watanabe
  • Kenichi Iwasaki
  • Kenji Katsumata
  • Akihiko Tsuchida
Original Article



We started robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy using the da Vinci surgical system from June 2010 and operated on 30 cases by December 2013. Herein, we examined the usefulness of robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy and compared it with conventional esophagectomy by right thoracotomy.


Patients requiring an invasion depth of up to the muscularis propria with preoperative diagnosis were considered for surgical adaptation, excluding bulky lymph node metastasis or salvage surgery cases. The outcomes of 30 patients who underwent robot-assisted surgery (robot group) and 30 patients who underwent conventional esophagectomy by right thoracotomy (thoracotomy group) up to December 2013 were retrospectively examined. Five ports were used in the robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy: 3rd intercostal (da Vinci right arm), 6th intercostal (da Vinci camera), 9th intercostal (da Vinci left arm), 4th and 8th intercostals (for assistance).


There was no significant difference in patient characteristics. Robot group/right thoracotomy group: Operation time, 563/398 min; thoracic procedure bleeding volume, 21/135 ml; number of thoracic lymph node radical dissections, 25/23. Postoperative complications were recurrent nerve paralysis, 16.7/16.7%; pneumonia, 6.7%/10.0%; anastomotic leakage, 10.0/20.0%; surgical site infection, 0/10.0%; hospitalization, 17/30 days. For the robot group, the operation time was significantly longer, but the amount of intraoperative bleeding and postoperative hospitalization were significantly reduced.


Robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy enables delicate surgical procedures owing to the 3D effect of the field of view and articulated forceps of the da Vinci. This procedure reduces bleeding and postoperative hospitalization and is less invasive than conventional esophagectomy by right thoracotomy.


Da Vinci Robotic Esophagectomy Minimally invasive surgery 



We thank Dr. Edward Barroga (, Associate Professor and Senior Editor of Tokyo Medical University for reviewing and editing the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest associated with this study.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Association for Thoracic Surgery 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gastrointestinal and Pediatric SurgeryTokyo Medical UniversityTokyoJapan

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