Minimally invasive enucleation of esophageal leiomyoma

Surg Endosc. 2006 Dec;20(12):1904-8. doi: 10.1007/s00464-005-0838-6.


Background: Leiomyoma accounts for 70% of all benign tumors of the esophagus. Open enucleation via thoracotomy has long been the standard procedure, but thoracoscopic and laparoscopic approaches have recently emerged as interesting alternatives. To date, only case reports or very small series of such techniques have been reported. The authors report their experience over the past decade.

Methods: Between January 1999 and August 2005, 11 patients (6 men and 5 women; median age, 44 years) underwent surgery after presenting with dysphagia, chest pain, or heartburn. The surgical approaches included right video-assisted thoracoscopy (n = 7) for tumors of the middle lower third of the esophagus and laparoscopy (n = 4) for tumors within 4 to 5 cm of the lower esophageal sphincter or located at the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ). Intraoperative endoscopy with air insufflation during enucleation was used to confirm mucosal integrity and safeguard against esophageal perforation. Reapproximation of the muscle layers was performed after tumor enucleation to prevent the development of a pseudodiverticulum. A Nissen or Toupet fundoplication was added for patients undergoing laparoscopic enucleation of the leiomyoma.

Results: The median operative time was 150 min. All tumors were benign leiomyomas (median size, 4.5 cm). One leiomyoma located at the gastroesophageal junction required intraoperative mucosal repair with three stitches for an esophageal perforation (preoperative biopsies had been taken). There were no major morbidities, including deaths or postoperative leaks. The median postoperative hospital stay was 6 days. All the patients were free of dysphagia during a median followup period of 27 months. One patient had a small (< 2 cm) asymptomatic pseudodiverticulum at the 6-month follow-up endoscopy.

Conclusions: Video-assisted enucleation of esophageal leiomyoma can be performed effectively and safely with no mortality and low morbidity. Thoracoscopic and laparoscopic techniques for the removal of esophageal leiomyomas may be recommended as the treatment of choice in centers experienced with minimally invasive surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / surgery
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Endosonography
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / complications
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Leiomyoma / complications
  • Leiomyoma / diagnosis
  • Leiomyoma / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome