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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-26

Laparoscopic and open transhiatal oesophagectomy for corrosive stricture of the oesophagus: An experience

Department of GI Surgery, Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission20-Sep-2016
Date of Acceptance30-Apr-2017
Date of Web Publication11-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hirdaya H Nag
Department of GI Surgery, Room No. 220, Academic Block, Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, New Delhi - 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmas.JMAS_201_16

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 ¤ Abstract 

Background: Oesophagectomy for corrosive stricture of the oesophagus (CSE) is rarely performed due to high risk of iatrogenic complications. The aims of this study were to review our experience of transhiatal oesophagectomy (THE) in patients with CSE as well as to compare results of open and laparoscopic methods.
Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of prospectively maintained data of patients with CSE who underwent open transhiatal oesophagectomy (OTE) or laparoscopic-assisted transhiatal oesophagectomy (LATE) by a single surgical team from 2012 to 2016. All study patients had either failed endoscopic dilatation or had a long stricture which was not amenable to endoscopic dilatation.
Results: Totally, 35 patients were included in the study, of which 19 (54.3%) were female. OTE was performed in 20 (57%) patients, and LATE was performed in 15 (43%) patients. Gastric and colonic conduits were used in 23 (65.7%) and 10 (34.3%) patients, respectively. Demographic and clinical parameters were comparable between LATE and OTE groups (P > 0.05). Median intra-operative blood loss, post-operative requirement of analgesic and hospital stay were lower in LATE group (P ≤ 0.05). There was no hospital mortality (30 days), but three patients (8.6%) died during a median follow-up of 36 months.
Conclusion: THE is a safe procedure for patients with CSE, and LATE may be an alternative approach in selected patients.

Keywords: Corrosive stricture, oesophagectomy, oesophagus, laparoscopic, transhiatal

How to cite this article:
Varshney VK, Nag HH, Vageesh B G. Laparoscopic and open transhiatal oesophagectomy for corrosive stricture of the oesophagus: An experience. J Min Access Surg 2018;14:23-6

How to cite this URL:
Varshney VK, Nag HH, Vageesh B G. Laparoscopic and open transhiatal oesophagectomy for corrosive stricture of the oesophagus: An experience. J Min Access Surg [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 17];14:23-6. Available from:

 ¤ Introduction Top

Corrosive stricture of the oesophagus (CSE) is an important cause of dysphagia in adults of the Indian subcontinent. CSE often requires substitution of oesophagus by stomach or colon conduit if stricture is not amenable to endoscopic dilatation. Retrosternal oesophageal bypass procedure is commonly performed surgical procedure for CSE because oesophagectomy is considered to be a high-risk procedure.[1],[2] However, leaving behind the scarred oesophagus is associated with lifelong risk of development of mucocele and malignancy in a scarred oesophagus.[3],[4],[5] Gupta and Gupta have established feasibility and safety of open transhiatal oesophagectomy (OTE) in a series of 51 patients with CSE.[6] We hereby report our experience of transhiatal oesophagectomy (THE) in patients with CSE along with comparison of open and laparoscopic approaches.

 ¤ Materials and Methods Top

This is a retrospective analysis of 35 patients with CSE who underwent either OTE or laparoscopy-assisted transhiatal oesophagectomy (LATE) by a single surgeon (the corresponding author) at a tertiary care centre in North India, from January 2012 to January 2016. Patients with a history of exploratory laparotomy, feeding jejunostomy (FJ) and/or scarred stomach were considered for OTE; otherwise, they were considered for LATE. Written informed consent was obtained from all the patients. As per prevailing guidelines, approval from the Ethics Committee was not necessary for this study. Pre-operative assessment included oral contrast study, upper gastrointestinal endoscopic study and blood investigations [Figure 1]. All the study patients either had failure of endoscopic dilatation or had a long stricture which was not amenable to endoscopic treatment. Endoscopic failure was defined as inability to maintain a luminal diameter for 4 weeks after the attainment of target diameter (14 mm) or inability to dilate up to 14 mm over five sessions at 2 weeks interval.[7]
Figure 1: Barium swallow study depicting corrosive stricture of oesophagus

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Open transhiatal oesophagectomy

Midline abdominal incision extending from epigastrium up to 3–5 cm below the umbilicus was used for the laparotomy. Gastric conduit was utilised if condition of stomach was satisfactory otherwise colonic conduit was used. Ultrasonic shear (Ethicon Endo-Surgery, LLC, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, USA) was used for dissection and division of the vessels up to 3 mm in size; vessels >3 mm size were ligated before division. Gastric conduit was based on the right gastroepiploic artery and GIA stapler 75/100 mm (Ethicon, LLC, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, USA) was utilised for the division of the stomach. Colonic conduit was based on ascending branch of the left colic artery and GIA stapler 75 mm (Ethicon, LLC, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, USA) was used for colonic transection. The lower part of the oesophagus was mobilised under vision after widening of the oesophageal hiatus of the diaphragm. An oblique cervical incision was used to mobilise cervical and upper thoracic oesophagus. Mobilisation of the mid-thoracic oesophagus was completed with both transhiatal and transcervical route in perioesophageal plane to avoid iatrogenic injury. The cervical oesophagus was divided 5–6 distal to cricoesophageal sphincter and specimen was pulled out through abdominal wound. Gastric or colonic conduit was placed in orthotopic position. Cervical oesophagogastric anastomosis (CEGA) or cervical oesophagocolic anastomosis was fashioned with interrupted 3-0 silk (Ethicon, India) sutures. In patients with colonic conduit, both cologastric and colocolic anastomoses were performed with the use of interrupted 3-0 polyglactin (Vicryl) sutures (Ethicon, India). Either pre-existing FJ was retained or a new FJ was fashioned in all the patients. Both pleural cavities were drained; a drain was also kept near oesophageal hiatus and brought out through left flank. Cervical wound was closed in layer after placement of an 18F suction drain (Romsons, India).

Laparoscopic-assisted transhiatal oesophagectomy

Patients were operated in French position and total four access ports (Ethicon Endo-Surgery, USA) were utilised to complete laparoscopic part of the procedure; an infraumbilical port (11 mm, for camera), an epigastric port (11 mm) and two pararectal ports (12 mm [right], 5 mm [left]) on either side of the umbilicus [Figure 2]a. Gastrocolic and gastrohepatic ligaments were divided along with preservation of whole right gastroepiploic artery with its arcade along the greater curvature of the stomach. Left gastric vessels were divided between LIGACLIPS (LT200, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, USA). Oesophageal hiatus of the diaphragm was widened and mobilisation of infracarinal oesophagus was completed under vision [Figure 2]b with the help of ultrasonic shear. Cervical part of the procedure was similar to as mentioned in earlier section. A small midline incision (~6 cm) incision was made in the epigastrium and transhiatal mobilisation of the mid-thoracic oesophagus was completed manually as mentioned earlier. Preparation of gastric conduit, route of conduit, anastomotic material, technique of anastomosis, placement of drains and closure of wounds were similar in both OTE and LATE groups [Figure 2]c and [Figure 2]d.
Figure 2: Intra-operative images: (a) Port position for laparoscopic-assisted transhiatal oesophagectomy, (b) transhiatal dissection, (c) gastric conduit formed, (d) post-operative mini-laparotomy scar

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Statistical analysis

Data were analysed using SPSS version 20 (IBM, Chicago, IL, USA). Numerical variables were represented as median and range. Categorical variables were represented as percentages. The Chi-square test was used to compare categorical variables and Mann–Whitney U-test for non-parametric numerical variables. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

 ¤ Results Top

The median age of patients was 23 (11–65) years with 19 females. Among 35 patients, 28 patients had accidental ingestion and seven patients had ingestion with suicidal intent. FJ was required before definitive surgery in 25 patients. Median level of stricture as measured on endoscopy was comparable between two groups [Table 1]. OTE was done in 20 (57.2%) and LATE was done in 15 (42.8%) patients. Stomach was used as a conduit in 23 (65.7%) patients and colon was used in 12 (34.3%) patients. Overall median (range) operation time, intra-operative blood loss and post-operative hospital stay were 330 (210–420) min, 200 (100–400) ml and 10 (7–30) days, respectively. On comparative analysis, reduced intra-operative blood loss (P = 0.025), decreased post-operative need of analgesia (P = 0.003) and shorter hospital stay (P = 0.020) were recorded in LATE group; however, operative duration was comparable in LATE and OTE groups (P = 0.852) [Table 2].
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of patients with corrosive stricture of oesophagus underwent oesophagectomy

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Table 2: Comparison of outcomes following laparoscopy-assisted transhiatal oesophagectomy and open transhiatal oesophagectomy for corrosive stricture of oesophagus

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One patient in OTE group had conduit necrosis (5%) and required re-laparotomy to replace necrotic conduit with colonic conduit. CEGA leak occurred in three patients (8.6%) (OTE:LATE = 2:1) and all were managed conservatively [Table 2]. Two patients had transient recurrent laryngeal nerve paresis which recovered in 6 weeks. Four patients (including three patients with leak of cervical anastomosis) developed anastomotic stricture (11.4%) (OTE:LATE = 3:1) and all were managed with endoscopic dilatation. There was no post-operative mortality. Total median (range) follow-up was 36 (6–48) months and total three patients died during this period. Out of three deaths, one had sepsis due to intestinal perforation, another had respiratory failure with sepsis and the last one had myocardial infarction.

 ¤ Discussion Top

Oesophagectomy in the presence of corrosive injury is considered difficult and is associated with complications.[1],[2],[8] Hence, a bypass procedure is preferred using a retrosternal route in the management of CSE. However, oesophagectomy not only permits the native and physiological route for conduit placement but also avoids complications related to retained diseased oesophagus. Oesophagectomy whether by open approach or by minimally invasive technique has been an accepted and established technique for malignant lesions of oesophagus.[9] Open transhiatal oesophageal resection and reconstruction has been safely done for extirpation of scarred oesophagus.[6],[10] Compared to transthoracic approach, transhiatal approach avoids thoracotomy, reduces chest complications and provides for early post-operative recovery. Transhiatal laparoscopic- or hand-assisted oesophagectomy has been described with positive results in the past.[11],[12] After our initial experience with open THE in CSE, we resorted to LATE in selected group of patients and obtained significantly, and our initial experience (although short) has been encouraging.

The role of oesophagectomy in CSE has been linked to various peri- and post-operative complications such as increased risk of tracheobronchial injury and laryngeal nerve injury.[13] However, performing bypass procedure is associated with mucocele of remnant oesophagus [3] and a long-term risk of development malignancy in the native oesophagus.[4],[5] Corrosive injuries are common in young patients whose expected life span is otherwise normal and regular surveillance is difficult. Furthermore, it has been reported that if malignancy occurs, it is often difficult to diagnose and usually diagnosed at an advanced stage.[14]

In the present study, none of the patients had tracheobronchial injury. Recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy was seen in two patients which was transient and managed conservatively and all patients recovered in average duration of 6 months. Aspiration was the major problem in these patients, managed with initial soft-solid foods, motivation and regular chest physiotherapy. Mediastinal dissection by laparoscopic method facilitates dissection of abdominal and lower thoracic oesophagus under direct vision and it helps in reduction of iatrogenic complication. Gupta et al.[6] have reported a low morbidity and mortality of transhiatal resection of corrosive oesophagus along with reconstruction with gastric or colonic conduit through transhiatal route; our results were also comparable. In our experience, LATE is advantageous in some aspects such as better cosmesis, low analgesic requirement and low blood loss. Shalaby et al.[15] have reported LATE being feasible in CSE with low morbidity and mortality which is in tune with our results. Small surgical incision, circumventing the need of thoracotomy and subsequent ventilatory support make the procedure noteworthy. However, retrospective nature of the study, small sample size and selection bias are limitations of our study.

 ¤ Conclusion Top

In the current study, we have shown that both OTE and LATE approaches are safe and feasible for the removal of oesophagus after the development of stricture following corrosive ingestion. LATE may be an alternative to conventional open approach.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 ¤ References Top

Adegboye VO, Brimmo A, Adebo OA. Transhiatal esophagectomy in children with corrosive esophageal stricture. Afr J Med Med Sci 2000;29:223-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Kim YT, Sung SW, Kim JH. Is it necessary to resect the diseased esophagus in performing reconstruction for corrosive esophageal stricture? Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2001;20:1-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Wain JC, Wright CD, Kuo EY, Moncure AC, Wilkins EW Jr., Grillo HC, et al. Long-segment colon interposition for acquired esophageal disease. Ann Thorac Surg 1999;67:313-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Okonta KE, Tettey M, Abubakar U. In patients with corrosive oesophageal stricture for surgery, is oesophagectomy rather than bypass necessary to reduce the risk of oesophageal malignancy? Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg 2012;15:713-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Aggarwal R, Kochhar R, Nagi B, Mehta SK. Carcinoma developing in a patient with longstanding lye stricture of oesophagus. J Assoc Physicians India 1989;37:233-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
Gupta NM, Gupta R. Transhiatal esophageal resection for corrosive injury. Ann Surg 2004;239:359-63.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kochman ML, McClave SA, Boyce HW. The refractory and the recurrent esophageal stricture: A definition. Gastrointest Endosc 2005;62:474-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wu MH, Lai WW. Esophageal reconstruction for esophageal strictures or resection after corrosive injury. Ann Thorac Surg 1992;53:798-802.  Back to cited text no. 8
Luketich JD, Pennathur A, Awais O, Levy RM, Keeley S, Shende M, et al. Outcomes after minimally invasive esophagectomy: Review of over 1000 patients. Ann Surg 2012;256:95-103.  Back to cited text no. 9
Harlak A, Yigit T, Coskun K, Ozer T, Mentes O, Gülec B, et al. Surgical treatment of caustic esophageal strictures in adults. Int J Surg 2013;11:164-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
Bernabe KQ, Bolton JS, Richardson WS. Laparoscopic hand-assisted versus open transhiatal esophagectomy: A case-control study. Surg Endosc 2005;19:334-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
Gerhart CD. Hand-assisted laparoscopic transhiatal esophagectomy using the dexterity pneumo sleeve. JSLS 1998;2:295-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
Raffensperger JG, Luck SR, Reynolds M, Schwartz D. Intestinal bypass of the esophagus. J Pediatr Surg 1996;31:38-46.  Back to cited text no. 13
Stiff G, Alwafi A, Rees BI, Lari J. Corrosive injuries of the oesophagus and stomach: Experience in management at a regional paediatric centre. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 1996;78:119-23.  Back to cited text no. 14
Shalaby R, Shams A, Soliman SM, Samaha A, Ibrahim HA. Laparoscopically assisted transhiatal esophagectomy with esophagogastroplasty for post-corrosive esophageal stricture treatment in children. Pediatr Surg Int 2007;23:545-9.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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