Thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer: Feasibility and safety of robotic assistance in the prone position

Dae Joon Kim, Woo Jin Hyung, Chang Young Lee, Jin Gu Lee, Seok Jin Haam, In Kyu Park, Kyung Young Chung

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89 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the feasibility and safety of robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer in the prone position. Methods: Twenty-one patients underwent robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position by a surgical oncologist who had no prior experience with thoracoscopic esophagectomy. Hemodynamic and respiratory parameters were serially recorded to monitor changes in prone positioning. Results: All thoracoscopic procedures were completed with a robot-assisted technique followed by cervical esophagogastrostomy. R0 resection was achieved in 20 patients (95.2%), and the number of dissected nodes was 38.0 ± 14.2. Robot console time was significantly reduced from 176.3 ± 12.3 minutes in the initial 6 patients (group 1) to 81.7 ± 16.5 minutes in the latter 15 patients (group 2) (P = .000). In group 2, there was less blood loss (P = .018), more patients could be extubated in the operating room (P = .004), and the number of dissected mediastinal nodes tended to be increased (P = .093). There was no incidence of pneumonia or 90-day mortality. Major complications included anastomotic leakage in 4 patients, vocal cord palsy in 6 patients, and intra-abdominal bleeding in 1 patient. The prone position led to an elevation of central venous pressure and mean pulmonary arterial pressure and a decrease in static lung compliance. However, cardiac index and mean arterial pressure were well maintained with the acceptable range of partial pressure of arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide. Conclusion: Robotic assistance in the prone position is technically feasible and safe. Prone positioning was well tolerated, but preoperative risk assessment and meticulous anesthetic manipulation should be carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59.e1
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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