Introduction: This report evaluates the results of a two-surgeon experience with thoracoscopic repair in patients with long gap esophageal atresia (EA).
Materials and methods: From March 2000 to February 2015, 14 consecutive patients with pure EA were repaired thoracoscopically. The gap length was then evaluated by contrast gastrostomy tube study. Patients were operated on between 4 to 8 weeks of age. Patient weights ranged from 2.6 to 3.8 kg. The longest gap was 7½ vertebral bodies. Dissection was carried well up into the thoracic inlet on the upper pouch and down to the esophageal hiatus on the lower pouch. A 15th patient was not referred until 3 months of age.
Results: All 15 procedures were completed successfully thoracoscopically. Operative times ranged from 60 to 135 minutes. There were two leaks; both resolved with conservative therapy. Feeds were started on Day 5 in all other patients. Six of 13 patients required dilations (one to nine), and 8 required a Nissen fundoplication for severe reflux. All patients are currently on full oral feeds. No patient has any evidence of chest wall asymmetry, winged scapula, or clinically significant scoliosis.
Conclusions: Thoracoscopic repair of long gap EA has proven to be an effective and safe technique when performed in the first 2 months of life. The improved visualization and access to the upper pouch and lower pouches allow for maximal mobilization. The results are superior to those of documented open series and avoid the morbidity of repeated operations in the neonatal period.