Surgeons at the Oregon Health & Science University Digestive Health Center have developed a new technique that makes feasible and safe a potentially lifesaving and noninvasive surgical procedure known as laparoscopic esophagectomy. Until now, the procedure was considered too technically demanding for most surgeons to perform. A paper on their findings recently was presented at the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery in Venice, Italy.
For more than a decade, the original procedure has been used in a few specialized centers around the world to remove cancer as well as other diseased tissue of the esophagus laparoscopically, that is by inserting fiber-optic instruments into a small, quarter-sized incision in the abdomen and maneuvering them to the affected portion of the esophagus while observing with a camera.
When first introduced, the less invasive laparoscopic esophagectomy was embraced by surgeons eager to forgo traditional open surgery, which requires cutting through the patients chest. But it proved so difficult and time-consuming that most surgeons abandoned it, according to John G. Hunter, M.D., co-director of the OHSU Digestive Health Center, chairman of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine, and co-author of the paper.
Tamara Hargens | EurekAlert!
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