Pulmonary complications, and especially pneumonia, remain one of the most common complications after esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. These complications are reduced by minimally invasive techniques or by avoiding thoracic access through a transhiatal approach. However, a transhiatal approach does not allow for a full mediastinal lymphadenectomy. A transcervical mediastinal esophagectomy avoids thoracic access, which may contribute to a decrease in pulmonary complications after esophagectomy. In addition, this technique allows for a full mediastinal lymphadenectomy. A number of pioneering studies have been published on this topic. Here, the initial experience is presented as well as a review of the current literature concerning transcervical esophagectomy, with a focus on the robot-assisted cervical esophagectomy procedure.
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