Partial gastrectomy using natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) for gastric submucosal tumors: early experience in humans
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Transvaginal endoscopic gastric surgery is one of the cutting edge procedures in the field of natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES). Its feasibility has been shown sporadically in bariatric cases but not in oncologic conditions. The authors report their early experience with hybrid transvaginal NOTES gastrectomy for gastric submucosal tumors (SMTs).
Two female patients with SMTs in the distal stomach participated in this institutional review board (IRB)-approved study. Surgical indication was determined according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) sarcoma guidelines, and the study adhered to the following oncologic principles: no direct handling of the lesion, full-thickness resection, and reasonable surgical margins. The study protocol required a minimum of two laparoscopic ports to ensure procedural safety and aforementioned oncologic appropriateness. Under laparoscopic guidance, a transvaginal route was created and secured with a 50-cm flexible overtube. A gastrointestinal endoscope was introduced, and the perigastric dissection was performed using an insulation-tipped diathermy knife (IT knife) and needle knife. This process was assisted with two laparoscopic graspers. After perigastric mobilization, the transvaginal endoscope was replaced with a digital stapling device, and partial gastrectomy was accomplished. The resected specimen was isolated and delivered through the vagina, and the vaginal wound was closed under direct vision. Outcomes measurements included surgical results, pain scoring, and clinical outcomes.
Both operations were completed successfully in compliance with the aforementioned oncologic principles. The operating time was 365 and 170 min, respectively. The estimated blood loss was negligible. A minilaparotomy for specimen delivery was successfully avoided in both cases. A minimal vaginal incision was added for one patient at retrieval. Postoperatively, both patients reported no pain and recovered rapidly. The final diagnosis was hemorrhagic lipoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), respectively.
Our initial experience with human transvaginal NOTES gastrectomy showed it to be feasible and safe for gastric SMTs. It is a complex but promising surgical alternative for female oncologic patients undergoing partial gastric resection.