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Open Access Research

Video-thoracoscopic enucleation of esophageal leiomyoma

Shi-Ping Luh1, Sheng-Mou Hou1*, Chien-Chung Fang2 and Chi-Yi Chen2

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Surgery, Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, 95 Wen Chang Rd, Shih Lin, Taipei City (111), Taiwan

2 Department of Gastroenterology, Chiayi Christian Hospital, 539 Chung-Shiao Rd, Chiayi City (600), Taiwan

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World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2012, 10:52  doi:10.1186/1477-7819-10-52

Published: 16 March 2012



Leiomyoma is the most common benign tumor of the esophagus. Surgical enucleation is indicated in case of symptoms or an unclear diagnosis, and open thoracotomy has long been the standard approach for this procedure. However, enucleation through video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) has been developed as a preferred approach for most lesions in recent years.


Herein we report our twelve patients (seven men and five women, with median age of 42 years) from 2001 to 2009, who underwent enucleation through VATS for esophageal leiomyomas, with a size from 1 to 8 cm in diameter (median: 5), and at different locations, from the thoracic outlet to near the diaphragmatic level of the thoracic esophagus. Intraoperative fiberoptic esophagoscopy was performed in two patients for localization by illumination. A right-sided approach was performed in eight cases (upper two thirds of esophagus) and the left-sided in another four cases (lower third of esophagus).


The median operative time was 95 minutes (70 to 230 minutes). Four of them required small utility incisions (4-6 cm) for better exploration and manipulation. There were no major complications, such as death or empyema due to leaks from mucosal tears, and the presenting symptoms were improved during the follow-up period, from 12 to 98 months.


VATS can be considered as an initial approach for most patients with esophageal leiomyomas, even large in size, irregular in shape, or at unfavorable location. It is a safe, minimally invasive, and effective treatment. However, conversion to open thoracotomy should be required for the sake of clinical or technical concern.

esophageal leiomyoma; video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery; enucleation