Laparoscopic Ultrasonic Epithelial Ablation of the Lower Esophagus after Nissen Fundoplication in a Porcine Model: Assessment of Tissue Damage and Healing Process

Tsai, Peter I.; Bremner, Ross M.; Mason, Rodney J.; Nigro, John J.; Chandrasoma, Para; Peters, Jeff H.; Bremner, Cedric G.; Demeester, Tom R.
December 2001
American Surgeon;Dec2001, Vol. 67 Issue 12, p1178
Academic Journal
A substantial population of patients with Barrett's esophagus has undergone antireflux surgery but still requires annual surveillance endoscopy. These patients would benefit from a definitive ablation of the Barrett's mucosa, which would remove the malignant potential of this disease. This study evaluates the efficacy of applying ultrasonic energy to remove the epithelium of the lower esophagus in a porcine model with prior Nissen fundoplication. Four Yakutan minipigs underwent laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. After 2 weeks they underwent transgastric Cavitron ultrasonic surgical aspirator (CUSA; Valleylab, Boulder, CO) ablation of the lower esophageal epithelium. Healing of the mucosa was assessed by endoscopy at 2 weeks and pathological examination at 4 weeks after ablation. All pigs underwent successful laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. Complete lower esophageal epithelial ablation was accomplished through the fundoplication in three animals. One pig developed a bezoar that prohibited ablation. At 2 weeks endoscopy showed patchy squamous epithelial regeneration, which was confirmed histologically. Esophageal specimens at 4 weeks showed complete regeneration of squamous epithelium with a partially healed small ulcer in one animal. No stricture formation was seen. We conclude that the CUSA technique can completely ablate Barrett's mucosa in the setting of a prior antireflux procedure. Healing with squamous mucosal regeneration is rapid and complete.


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