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01.03.2012 | Ausgabe 3/2012

Surgical Endoscopy 3/2012

OrVil-assisted anastomosis in laparoscopic upper gastrointestinal surgery: friend of the laparoscopic surgeon

Surgical Endoscopy > Ausgabe 3/2012
Gabriele Marangoni, Francesco Villa, Eamon Shamil, Abraham J. Botha



An increasing number of minimally invasive oesophagogastrectomies (MIOG) are being performed. However, the complexity of the surgical skills required and the steep learning curve have thus far confined the minimally invasive approach to selected tertiary centres. The oesophagogastric and the oesophagojejunal anastomosis can be challenging and often time-consuming. The recently developed transorally inserted anvil (OrVil) is a technique aimed to simplify the anastomotic procedure. The aim of the study was to evaluate the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of OrVil-assisted anastomosis during laparoscopic surgery in a tertiary upper-GI cancer centre.


From July 2008 to July 2010, 53 consecutive patients underwent MIOG for cancer performed by one surgeon at our institution. Thirty patients underwent laparoscopic Ivor-Lewis oesophagectomy (ILO) and 23 patients underwent laparoscopic gastrectomy. Of the latter group, 13 had a total gastrectomy (TG) and 10 had a subtotal gastrectomy (SG). The gastrointestinal anastomosis was checked with intraoperative endoscopy in all cases.


There were three in-hospital deaths. Median hospital stay was 14 days for oesophagectomies and 11 days for gastrectomies. There were three anastomotic leaks (5.6%), all in the oesophageal group, successfully treated conservatively. Two patients needed conversion to open surgery (3.7%), 3 patients (5.6%) required re-exploration (for bleeding, infected haematoma, and diaphragmatic hernia), and 18 patients (34%) had respiratory complications (pneumonia, pleural effusions, respiratory failure). Four patients developed anastomotic stricture requiring endoscopic balloon dilatation. The average number of lymph nodes harvested was 22 (range = 11–39) and 26 (range = 5–78) for oesophagectomies and gastrectomies, respectively.


The principles of a good anastomosis are good vascular supply, must be tension-free, and the use of a high-quality surgical technique. The use of the OrVil in laparoscopic upper-gastrointestinal surgery is safe and does not have an increased complication rate. It is quicker and easier compared to the traditional purse-string technique and it may help to expand the adoption of MIOG surgery.

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