Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) is becoming more widespread with a documented improvement in postoperative morbidity based on level I evidence. However, there is a lack of consensus regarding the optimal MIE approach, conventional thoracoscopy/laparoscopy vs robotics as well as the ideal anastomotic technique. All patients who underwent MIE via an Ivor Lewis approach with a side-to-side stapled anastomosis were included. The thoracoscopy-laparoscopy (TL) group was compared to the robotic group with respect to perioperative outcomes using the entire cohorts and after 1:1 propensity score matching. Comparisons were made using the Mann–Whitney U and Fisher’s exact tests. Between July 2013 and November 2020, 72 TL and 67 robotic Ivor Lewis MIE were performed. After comparing the two unadjusted cohorts and 51 propensity matched pairs, there was a decrease in Clavien-Dindo Grade 2 or above complications in the robotic vs TL group (59.7% vs 41.8% [P = 0.042], (62.7% vs 39.2% [P = 0.029]), respectively. In both analyses, there was a reduction in hospital length of stay (median of 8 vs 7 days, P < 0.001) and a trend toward less anastomotic leaks in the robotic group (Unadjusted: 12.5 vs 3% [P = 0.057], Propensity-matched analysis: 13.7% vs 3.9% [P = 0.16]), respectively. A clinically significant decrease in overall morbidity, cardiac complications and hospital length of stay was observed in the robotic Ivor Lewis cohort when compared with the TL group at a high volume MIE program. Side-to-side stapled thoracic anastomoses utilizing a robotic platform provides the best outcomes in this single institution experience.
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