Improving Odds Against Esophageal Cancer

Death rates lower with minimally invasive esophagectomies

THURSDAY, April 24, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Using minimally invasive esophagectomy -- removal of the esophagus -- to treat esophageal cancer results in lower death rates and shorter hospital stays, compared to most open surgical procedures.

That's what University of Pittsburgh researchers found when they evaluated the effectiveness of minimally invasive esophagetomy (MIE) in 221 people from June 1996 through August 2002.

The results of MIE were compared to other methods, such as surgical opening of the chest wall and surgical opening of the abdomen.

The study found the mean hospital stay for people who had MIE was seven days, compared to more than 10 days for people who had open procedures. People having MIE had a death rate of 1.3 percent while the death rates for open procedures were 5 percent or more.

The findings were presented April 24 at the annual meeting of the American Surgical Association in Washington, D.C.

MIE is a video-assisted surgery that uses a tiny camera and surgical instruments that are introduced into the body through small incisions.

"Our study demonstrates that minimally invasive esophagectomy offers results as good as, if not better than, open esophageal procedures. These results are encouraging and demonstrate that MIE can improve patient outcomes without compromising accepted standards of care," study author Dr. James D. Luketich says in a news release.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about esophageal cancer.

SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, news release, April 24, 2003
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