OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to compare outcome of vagal-sparing esophagectomy with transhiatal and en bloc esophagectomy in patients with intramucosal adenocarcinoma or high-grade dysplasia. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Intramucosal adenocarcinoma and high grade dysplasia have a low likelihood of lymphatic or systemic metastases and esophagectomy is curative in most patients. However, traditional esophagectomy is associated with significant morbidity and altered gastrointestinal function. A vagal-sparing esophagectomy offers the advantages of complete disease removal with the potential for reduced morbidity and a better functional outcome. METHOD: Retrospective review of outcome in patients with intramucosal adenocarcinoma or high grade dysplasia that had a vagal-sparing (n = 49), transhiatal (n = 39) or en bloc (n = 21) esophagectomy. RESULTS: The length of hospital stay and the incidence of major complications was significantly reduced with a vagal-sparing esophagectomy compared with a transhiatal or en bloc resection. Further, postvagotomy dumping and diarrhea symptoms were significantly less common, and weight was better maintained postoperatively with a vagal-sparing esophagectomy. Recurrent cancer has developed in only 1 patient. CONCLUSION: Survival with intramucosal adenocarcinoma or Barrett's with high-grade dysplasia is independent of the type of resection. A vagal-sparing esophagectomy is associated with significantly less perioperative morbidity and a shorter hospital stay than a transhiatal or en bloc esophagectomy. Further, late morbidity including weight loss, dumping, and diarrhea are significantly less likely after a vagal-sparing approach. Consequently a vagal-sparing esophagectomy is the preferred procedure for patients with intramucosal adenocarcinoma or high grade dysplasia.
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