Thoracic perforations-surgical techniques

Ann Transl Med. 2018 Feb;6(3):40. doi: 10.21037/atm.2017.04.25.


Esophageal perforation may occur spontaneously, iatrogenically or in connection with traumas. Sepsis may develop in connection with mediastinal and pleural exposure in a very short time as a consequence of disintegration of the esophagus. Esophageal perforation is an emergency accompanied with a high level of mortality and morbidity. Rate of mortality for the perforations in the thoracic region is higher than that in the cervical and abdominal regions. Delay in diagnosis and treatment is the most important factor to affect the mortality. A quick and true diagnosis of esophageal perforation is prerequisite for a successful treatment. There is no certain consensus in relation with the optimal treatment of that life-threatening condition. However, in the event that perforation is detected early in a healthy esophagus, then primary repair is recommended. When it is detected late, nonoperative conservative treatment would be appropriate. The rates of mortality for the operations following a period of 24 h after rupture formation are higher than 50%. Esophagectomy is a type of an operation that is to be considered in the event of an end stage benign esophageal disease or of a large esophageal damage that does not allow primary repair. Significant decrease has been observed in the morbidity and mortality of esophageal perforation due to the improvements in the endoscopical techniques today. Minimally invasive techniques, in which drug eluting stents come first, will become an important step for the treatment of esophageal perforations in the forthcoming years.

Keywords: Esophagus; perforation; stent; surgery; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review