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I think the most important questions for the surgeon include:

What will be the surgical approach and why are you using it?

How many operations of this type have you performed and what is your 30 day post-op mortality and morbidity rate?

There are several surgical approaches that are used:

The TTE (transthoracic esophagectomy;

The THE (transhiatal esophagectomy;

The MIE (minimally invasive esophagectomy);

And the robot assisted MIE esophagectomy.

My surgeon preferred the TTE because it gave him a better view of the surgical field and allowed for the harvest of more lymph nodes. He was willing to perform the THE, but felt the TTE provided a better chance at a cure. The MIE was still a fairly new procedure 17 years ago and studies had not shown a survival benefit over the more traditional approaches. The Da Vinci robot assisted surgery was not yet available.

Medical studies show the survival benefit of surgeon experience and hospital experience in dealing with EC surgeries. Yes, someone has to be a surgical resident's first solo flight, but I don't want it to be me!