Background: Prone thoracoscopic esophagectomy was introduced at our institution from 2012. This study describes our experiences of the main differences between thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone and traditional left lateral decubitus positions together with an analysis of the short-term surgical outcomes. Method: In total, 87 patients undergoing thoracoscopic esophagectomy between January 2012 and October 2013 at Tohoku University Hospital were enrolled; of these, 54 and 33 patients were operated in the prone (Group P) and lateral decubitus (Group L) positions, respectively. Results: The background of the patients was similar, and there was no in-hospital mortality. There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of whole surgical duration, thoracic duration, and number of dissected lymph nodes. Total blood loss and thoracic estimated blood loss were significantly lower in Group P than Group L. Furthermore, postoperative pulmonary complications, intensive care unit stay, and hospital stay were significantly lower in Group P. Conclusion: Thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position is feasible and safe. The prone position technique may be superior to conventional lateral decubitus position esophagectomy.
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