Article ID: cr.21-00175
The advantages of salvage esophagectomy through robotic-assisted surgery for patients with clinically diagnosed tumor invasion of adjacent vital organs (cT4b) or patients with scar tissue from definitive chemoradiotherapy (dCRT) are still only rarely reported. A man in his 60s with middle thoracic esophageal cancer (cT4b [left main bronchus] N1 M0 cStage IIIC) received dCRT (60 Gy). After the chemoradiotherapy, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy revealed a residual primary tumor, and we performed robotic-assisted thoracoscopic subtotal esophagectomy and gastric tube reconstruction via a retrosternal route with three-field lymphadenectomy. Although it was difficult to dissect the tumor from adjacent organs, especially the left main bronchus and left inferior pulmonary vein, due to loss of the dissecting layer and scarring, R0 surgery was achieved. With robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, the high-magnification, high-resolution, and three-dimensional images; the stable surgical field with full countertraction made with the robotic arm forceps, which were readily adjusted; and the stable motion of the robotic arm without physiological tremor are considerable advantages for salvage esophagectomy for cT4b tumors. It goes without saying that sufficient experience with robot-assisted surgery and sufficient understanding and surgical skill in esophageal cancer surgery under suitable surgical indications and timing are required to make use of these advantages.