Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer, characterized by minimal access, has been increasingly performed worldwide. It not only results in better cosmetic outcomes, but also reduces intraoperative blood loss and postoperative pain, leading to faster recovery; however, endoscopically enhanced anatomy and improved hemostasis via positive intracorporeal pressure generated by CO2 insufflation have not contributed to reduction in early postoperative complications or improvement in longterm outcomes. Since 1995, we have been actively using MIS for operable patients with resectable upper GI cancer and have developed stable and robust methodology in conducting totally laparoscopic gastrectomy for advanced gastric cancer and prone thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer using novel technology including da Vinci Surgical System (DVSS). We have recently demonstrated that use of DVSS might reduce postoperative local complications including pancreatic fistula after gastrectomy and recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy after esophagectomy. In this article, we present the current status and future perspectives on MIS for gastric and esophageal cancer based on our experience and a review of the literature.
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