Risks of Laparoscopic Harvest of Free Intestinal Flaps for Esophageal Reconstruction

Dicle Aksoyler*, Luigi Losco, Gokhan Sert, Shih Heng Chen, Hung Chi Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Performing ablative surgery using an laparoscope is a common practice. However, its use in the harvest of a segment of intestine for reconstruction has 2 major challenges: risk of damage to the vascular pedicle of the flap as well as to the vessels of other parts of the intestine that remain in the peritoneal cavity and risk of damage to the intestinal flap while pulling it out through a small opening in the abdominal wall. The aim of this study was to report advantages and disadvantages of harvesting free intestinal flaps using the laparoscopic method, explaining the challenges faced and lessons learned from this experience. Patients and Methods: Free intestinal flaps were harvested by laparoscopy in 12 patients aged 28 to 63 years. There were 9 free jejunal flaps for the reconstruction of the cervical esophagus and 3 ileocolic flaps for the reconstruction of both the cervical esophagus and voice reconstruction. Results: In 1 patient, laparoscopy was converted to laparotomy due to previous colectomy, which resulted in compromised circulation to the rest of the colon. One jejunal flap had leakage at its pharyngeal end; therefore, a pectoralis major myocutaneous flap was used for closure. In addition, 1 ileocolic flap had partial loss of its anterior wall, and a free anterolateral flap was used as a patch for closure. Furthermore, it was very difficult to harvest 1 free jejunal flap due to the thick and fat mesentery. Conclusion: Prolonged operative times, unexpected leakage at the anastomosis sites, partial loss of flaps, possible risk of vascular pedicle damage or venous compromise, demanding pedicle dissection in obese patients, and requirement of conversion to laparotomy are the major drawbacks of harvesting free intestinal flaps by laparoscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-749
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical Laparoscopy, Endoscopy and Percutaneous Techniques
Issue number6
StatePublished - 28 12 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • endoscope
  • free ileocolic flap
  • free jejunal flap
  • laparoscope
  • laparotomy
  • pedicle injury


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