Background: Meticulous recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) lymph node dissection in thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer often results in RLN paralysis. Methods: We had attempted to simply cut the vessels around RLN sharply with scissors without using energy device in order to prevent RLN paralysis. However, these procedures often result in minor bleeding. Since we introduced the use of mini-clips for hemostasis before cutting the vessels with scissors, we herein compared the surgical results between before and after the introduction of use of mini-clips. Results: With regard to RLN paralysis, the incidence was 24.0% in the before group; this incidence went down to 5.1% in the after group (P = 0.0259). Moreover, length of hospital stay after surgery was significantly shortened, from 36.1 days to 22.0 days, after the introduction of energy-less techniques with mini-clips (P = 0.0075). Conclusions: Our data demonstrated that this technique contributed to prevent RLN paralysis and to shorten the patient's length of hospital stay.
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