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J.Jpn. Surg. Soc.. 106(4): 275-279, 2005

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1) Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Toranomon Hospital
2) First Department of Surgery, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan

Harushi Udagawa1), Kenji Tsutsumi1), Yoshihiro Kinoshita1), Masaki Ueno1), Shinji Mine1), Kazuhisa Ehara1), Masaji Hashimoto1), Toshihito Sawada1), Goro Watanabe1), Masahiko Tsurumaru2)

The lymph node metastases of esophageal cancer occur over a wide area. It is essential for radical surgery of such metastases to aim at en bloc dissection. Otherwise, it can easily become a combination of blunt esophagectomy and lymph node sampling through a right thoracotomy. In the intrathoracic procedure, all the nodes to be dissected can be harvested while attached to the esophagus together with the surrounding connective tissue, except for the pretracheal nodes in front of the cardiac branches of the right vagus nerve and the subaortic arch nodes. It is important to dissect the left paratracheal nodes en bloc, preserving the left recurrent laryngeal nerve. In the abdomen, nodes around the celiac axis and nodes on the common hepatic artery and proximal part of the splenic artery are all removed en bloc with the perigastric nodes in the left gastric arterial basin. The cervical paratracheal and paraesophageal nodes are removed separately from the resected esophagus, but the continuity of dissection can be ensured when the dissection from the neck meets the empty space made by the dissection along the bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerves through the thoracotomy. We believe that such en bloc dissection is the key to improving the long-term results of esophageal cancer surgery.

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