Published online Aug 14, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i30.3811
Revised: June 7, 2010
Accepted: June 14, 2010
Published online: August 14, 2010
Esophageal resection is associated with a high morbidity and mortality rate. Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) might theoretically decrease this rate. We reviewed the current literature on MIE, with a focus on the available techniques, outcomes and comparison with open surgery. This review shows that the available literature on MIE is still crowded with heterogeneous studies with different techniques. There are no controlled and randomized trials, and the few retrospective comparative cohort studies are limited by small numbers of patients and biased by historical controls of open surgery. Based on the available literature, there is no evidence that MIE brings clear benefits compared to conventional esophagectomy. Increasing experience and the report of larger series might change this scenario.