▲ Professor Yong-Hee Kim(left), the Director of the Esophageal Cancer Center, performing robot-assisted esophageal cancer surgery using the da Vinci surgical system
Esophageal cancer surgery involves removing esophagus together with the tumor and reconstructing it using either stomach or colon. Surgical procedures take time because a wide range of incision is required and patients are often aged. The mortality risk is also high due to complications and inflammation. However, the mortality of patients who underwent esophageal cancer surgery at AMC last year recorded 0% as no death was reported in a month after surgery.
The total 177 cases of esophageal cancer surgery was performed at AMC last year. While few hospitals are globally known to perform more than 30 cases of esophageal cancer surgery a year, AMC is the one and only hospital without any death in one month after surgery. This is an outstanding performance in comparison of approximately 10% operative mortality in top ranking hospitals around the world.
AMC started performing esophageal cancer surgeries immediately after it opened in 1989, achieving 1,000 cases in 2011. Since 2017, AMC has been performing more than 150 cases annually. The Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (Division of Thoracic Surgery) is actively performing esophageal cancer surgeries using thoracoscope and robots in order to reduce thoracotomy as well as scars, pain, and postoperative complications caused by laparotomy. Among 177 patients who underwent esophageal cancer surgeries last year, 110 patients underwent robot-assisted surgeries with the da Vinci surgical system, accounting for approximately 62%, and 5 patients underwent thoracoscopic surgery.
In addition, AMC has strived to reduce operative mortality through customized patient treatment and systemized intensive care as it launched a multidisciplinary esophageal cancer treatment system for the first time in Korea 20 years ago. Medical professionals from the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (Division of Thoracic Surgery) and diverse medical departments including the Division of Stomach Surgery, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Oncology, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Radiology, and more are participating in the multidisciplinary esophageal cancer treatment.