Background: Valvuloplastic esophagogastrostomy by double flap technique (VEG-DFT) is a promising procedure to prevent reflux after proximal gastrectomy (PG), and is achieved by the burial of the abdominal esophagus into the gastric submucosa; however, laparoscopic VEG-DFT is technically demanding due to complicated suturing and ligation maneuvers. The present study was designed to determine the feasibility and safety of robotic VEG-DFT. Methods: After robotic PG, seromuscular flaps were extracorporeally created at the anterior wall of the remnant stomach through a small umbilical incision. Then, using a robot, the posterior wall of the esophagus was fixed to the cranial end of the mucosal window, and layer-to-layer sutures were placed between the anterior aspects of esophagus and the remnant stomach. Finally, the anastomosis was covered by seromuscular flaps. Short-term outcomes of 12 consecutive patients who underwent VEG-DFT between January 2014 and December 2015 were assessed. Results: Operations were successfully completed using robotic assistance in all patients. Median operative, surgeon console, and anastomosis times were 406 (324–613 min), 267 (214–483), and 104 (76–186) min, respectively, and median estimated blood loss was 31 (5–130) ml. The first six cases were required to reach a learning plateau. Both mortality and morbidity rates within 30 days after surgery were 0%. Postoperative hospital stay was 10 (9–30) days. No postoperative reflux esophagitis was observed, whereas anastomotic stenosis, which required endoscopic balloon dilation, developed in three patients (25%) in postoperative month 2. There was a significant association between the total number of stitches used for VEG-DFT and anastomotic stenosis (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Robotic assistance may be useful for VEG-DFT with a short learning curve. Attention is required to prevent postoperative anastomotic stenosis possibly caused by an excessive number of stitches for esophagogastrostomy.
- Robotic surgical procedure
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