Laparoscopic transhiatal subtotal esophagectomy for the treatment of advanced megaesophagus.
BACKGROUND Chagas' disease affects about 5 to 8 million individuals in Brazil, with 5% to 8% of them developing megaesophagus. In view of the transformation of the esophagus into an inert tube unable to propel food to the stomach, and in order to prevent complications, the elected treatment for advanced megaesophagus is subtotal esophagectomy. We evaluate here the outcome of laparoscopic transhiatal subtotal esophagectomy in the treatment of advanced megaesophagus. METHODS Thirty patients with advanced esophagopathy, 26 with chagasic and 4 with idiopathic megaesophagus, were submitted to transhiatal subtotal esophagectomy without thoracotomy through laparoscopy and left cervicotomy. Contrast exams of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (ESD), upper digestive tract endoscopy (UDE), esophageal electromanometry, and 24-hour pHmetry were performed during the preoperative and postoperative period. With respect to the surgical technique, pyloroplasty was not performed. The cervical esophagus was dissected through a left cervicotomy and the esophagogastric anastomosis was performed between the cervical segment of the esophagus and the posterior wall of the stomach. RESULTS No death or conversion to open surgery occurred in the present series. Complications were observed in 8 patients (26.7%): 6 cases of pneumothorax (20%), 2 of cervical fistulas (6.7%), 7 of transient dysphonia (23.3%), and 1 of anastomotic esophagogastric stenosis (3.3%). One (3.3%) of the patients developed dysphagia for solid food after 36 months despite normal ESD, UDE, electromanometry, and 24-hour pHmetry. CONCLUSIONS The present results show that laparoscopic transhiatal subtotal esophagectomy is a feasible and safe procedure with an excellent postoperative outcome.