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The left thoracoabdominal approach to esophagectomy is not widely performed, despite offering excellent exposure to tumors of the esophagogastric junction. Criticisms of the approach have focused on historically high rates of mortality, complications, and positive resection margins. Our aim was to determine whether left thoracoabdominal esophagectomy could combine a radical oncological resection with acceptably low mortality and morbidity. A retrospective cohort study of all left thoracoabdominal esophagectomies was performed at a single specialist center over an 11-year period. Primary outcomes were in-hospital mortality, complications, resection margin involvement, and lymph node yield; secondary outcomes were 1-year and 5-year survival. Two hundred eleven esophagectomies were performed. In-hospital mortality was 5.7% (12/211). One hundred one subjects (47.9%) had an uncomplicated recovery; 110 subjects (52.1%) developed at least one complication. There were 15 clinically significant anastomotic leaks (7.1%). Twenty-four subjects (11.4%) required emergency reoperation, the most common indication being anastomotic leakage. Complete tumor excision (R0 resection) was achieved in 151 of 211 cases (71.6%); median lymph node yield was 24. One-year and 5-year survival rates were 70% (147/211) and 21% (24/116), respectively. Left thoracoabdominal esophagectomy can combine a radical oncological resection with acceptably low mortality and morbidity.

Original publication




Journal article


Dis Esophagus

Publication Date





138 - 144


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anastomotic Leak, Cohort Studies, Esophageal Neoplasms, Esophagectomy, Female, Hospital Mortality, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoadjuvant Therapy, Neoplasm Staging, Postoperative Care, Postoperative Complications, Reoperation, Retrospective Studies, Survival Rate, Treatment Outcome