Background: We developed a hybrid of the prone and left lateral decubitus positions for thoracoscopic esophagectomy (TE) in 2009. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of applying this novel TE position. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 78 patients who underwent TE at our institution between 2005 and 2010. Altogether, 33 patients underwent TE in the left lateral decubitus position (LD-TE) from 2005 to 2008, and 45 underwent TE in the hybrid position (hybrid-TE) from 2009 to 2010. Radical lymphadenectomy along the bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerves was performed in both groups. The thoracic duct was preserved in the LD-TE group and resected in the hybrid-TE group. In the LD-TE group, all thoracic procedures were performed with the patient in the left lateral decubitus position. In the hybrid-TE group, the upper mediastinal procedure was performed with the patient in the left lateral decubitus position, and procedures at the middle and lower mediastinum were performed with the patient in the prone position under CO2 pneumothorax. Results: Hybrid-TE was associated with increased operating time. The number of harvested mediastinal nodes and the PaO2/FiO2 ratio on postoperative day 1 were both greater in this position. Although vocal cord palsy was observed more frequently in the hybrid-TE group, there was no significant difference in the rate of other complications or in-hospital mortality between the two groups. Conclusions: The novel hybrid position is believed feasible for use during TE. We believe that this position facilitates a more radical mediastinal lymphadenectomy with minimal intraoperative pulmonary damage.
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