Thoracoscopic repair of esophageal atresia has becoming the gold standard in many centers because it allows a better cosmetic result and avoids the musculoskeletal sequelae of a thoracotomy. Natural orifice translumenal endocopic surgery (NOTES) is a new surgical paradigm, and its human application has already been started in some procedures. In the present study, we explore the feasibility of performing an esophagoesophageal anastomosis using a single transthoracic single port combined with a peroral access in a rabbit model to simulate repair of esophageal atresia by hybrid NOTES in a human newborn. Adult male rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus, n=28) were used to perform the surgical protocol. We used a transthoracic telescope with a 3-mm working channel and a flexible endoscope with a 2.2-mm working channel by peroral access. We performed total esophagotomy with peroral scissors followed by an esophagoesophageal anastomosis achieved with a rigid transthoracic scope helped by the peroral operator. Extracorporeal transthoracic knots were performed to complete the anastomosis. The anastomoses were examined in loco and ex loco, after animal sacrifice. We successfully accomplished a complete esophageal anastomosis in all rabbits using a combination of transthoracic and peroral 3-mm instruments. This study provides important insights for a possible translation of hybrid NOTES to human newborns with esophageal atresia. Forward studies to accomplish their feasibility in human newborns will still be necessary.
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