Background and Objectives: Esophagectomy for esophageal cancer is an invasive procedure. Minimally invasive approaches such as hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery (HALS) might reduce surgical stress and improve postoperative course. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 216 consecutive patients who underwent esophagectomy for esophageal cancer through either HALS (109 patients) or open laparotomy (107 patients), through an abdominal approach. The peri- and postoperative outcomes were compared between the two groups. Results No significant difference was observed in physical and tumor status between the two groups. The mean operating time (HALS: 452±65, Open: 456±69min) and mean number of resected lymph nodes (HALS:19.3a○7.1, Open:20.8±8.3) were similar, while total blood loss was lower in HALS (HALS: 695±369, Open: 1,101±540ml P=0.0001). The postoperative course showed marginally lower incidences of pulmonary (HALS: 6.4%, Open: 14.0%; P=0.062) and overall complications (HALS: 23.9%, Open: 35.5%; P=0.11), lower C-reactive protein level at postoperative days 1, 3, and 7, and shorter duration of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (HALS: 2.3 days, Open: 3.5 days; P=0.0002) in HALS than in OPEN. The disease-free survival rates at 2 years were 65% in HALS and 53% in Open. Conclusions The findings suggest that HALS is feasible and useful for patients with esophageal cancer.
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