Less Invasive Approach Reduces Esophageal Cancer Surgery Risks

Armen Hareyan's picture

Esophageal Cancer Treatment

A minimally invasive approach to treat cancer of the esophagus is bucking conventional wisdom by giving surgeons a better view of a patient's chest and abdomen than that offered by traditional open surgery.


The Ohio State University Medical Center is among the few institutions in the United States offering a procedure called a minimally invasive esophagogastrectomy. Surgeons use endoscopic tools and cameras inserted through nine very small holes in the chest and abdomen to conduct the surgery, and are able to remove most of the esophagus, one-third of the stomach and draining lymph nodes, all through an incision in the neck that's no more than 2 inches long.

"People often ask how we do this without having to open the chest and abdomen," said Dr. Abbas E. Abbas, a cardiothoracic surgeon at OSU Medical Center specializing in treatment of esophageal cancer patients. "Interestingly, we can see even better inside because we have magnification and long cameras that can go to places a surgeon's eyes just can't see. It's especially helpful to be able to see the regional lymph nodes, which are often very difficult to assess with open surgery."

Conventional open surgery to treat esophageal cancer involves three large incisions


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