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Ivor Lewis vs Mckeown esophagectomy: analysis of operative outcomes from the ACS NSQIP database

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Ivor Lewis and McKeown esophagectomy are common techniques to treat esophageal cancer. In this study, we aim to compare these two approaches.


We used the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project database (2005–2017) to compare both techniques using bivariate analysis after propensity matching.


We identified 6136 patients with esophagectomy and divided them into 2 groups based on whether they received a McKeown (1676; 27.31%) or an Ivor Lewis (4460; 70.14%) esophagectomy. McKeown esophagectomy was associated with higher rates of superficial surgical site infections (8.02% vs 3.67%, p < 0.001), anastomotic leaks (9.12% vs 7.71%, p = 0.02), prolonged intubation (15.06% vs 10.10%, p < 0.001), re-intubation (15.30% vs 10.34%, p ≤ 0.001), and return to the OR (16.46% vs 11.32%, p < 0.001). The McKeown esophagectomy patients also had longer hospital length of stay (14.5 ± 11.99 vs 13.37 ± 11.8, p = 0.002), higher re-admission rate (21.56% vs 16.87%, p = 0.002), and higher discharges to nursing/rehabilitation institutions (14.06% vs 11.99%, p = 0.004).The mortality rate and positive resection margins were not significantly different. There was a trend toward more utilization of Ivor Lewis esophagectomy over years.


When compared to Ivor Lewis esophagectomy, McKeown esophagectomy is associated with more unplanned intubation, increased difficulty weaning from the ventilator, incisional surgical site infections, anastomotic leak, and higher length of stay.

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Correspondence to Y. A. Alwatari.

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Sabra, M.J., Alwatari, Y.A., Wolfe, L.G. et al. Ivor Lewis vs Mckeown esophagectomy: analysis of operative outcomes from the ACS NSQIP database. Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 68, 370–379 (2020).

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