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First laparoscopic esophageal cancer surgery in Oman

The department of surgery at the Sultan Qaboos Comprehensive Cancer Care and Research Centre (SQCCCRC) has successfully performed a minimally invasive esophagectomy surgery for esophageal cancer, laparoscopically, for the first time in Sultanate of Oman.

The operation was carried out by a medical team of surgeons headed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rawahi, a Consultant in Upper GI and Esophageal Surgery. It took 9 hours – during which the tumour was removed by thoracoscopy and laparoscopy for a 30-year-old patient, suffering from a genetic condition called Fanconi anemia.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rawahi explained: “Esophagectomy minimally invasive surgical procedures include the removal of the tumor with part of the esophagus and stomach, and then the remaining stomach is pulled up and reattached to the esophagus through an incision in the neck, for which high accuracy is required to avoid any complications.”

“The medical team was able to perform the operation using laparoscopic only, without the need for an open operation, despite its complexity as the patient suffers from a rare genetic condition called Fanconi anemia,” Al Rawahi added.

In minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon makes a few small cuts instead of one large one. During laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon inserts instruments and a camera-tipped device through the incisions to view and perform the operation, which results in reduced pain and faster recovery than conventional surgery.

Al Rawahi pointed out: “This procedure can be used for all kinds of esophageal tumours, with excellent precision in excision of tumor and lymph nodes associated with it.”

Al Rawahi said, “During the operation, we placed a feeding tube through the patient’s abdomen that connects to the small bowel to ensure that the patient receives adequate nutrition during the recovery period until the patient returns to his usual diet. The patient’s condition will also be evaluated to determine if he needs other treatment post-resection surgery.”