Use of enteric grafts is a popular method for reconstruction of the cervical esophagus and hypopharynx. Free jejunal transfer (FJT) and gastric pull-up (GP) are the most popular methods used. This discussion is a retrospective review of our experience with 50 cases of free jejunal transfer and 15 cases of gastric pull-up.
The graft survival rate was 94 percent (47 of 50) for free jejunal transfer and 87 percent (13 of 15) for gastric pull-up. Successful swallowing was achieved in 88 percent (44 of 50) of free jejunal transfers and 87 percent (13 of 15) of gastric pull-ups. Patients with free jejunal transfers were able to swallow and leave the hospital sooner: 10.6 versus 16.0 days and 22.3 versus 29.0 days, respectively.
Fistulas occurred in 16 percent (8 of 50) of free jejunal transfers, most of which (6 of 8) healed spontaneously. Fistulas occurred in 20 percent (3 of 15) of gastric pull-ups, only one of which healed spontaneously. Stricture was the most common late complication for free jejunal transfers, 22 percent (11 of 50), whereas reflux was most common in gastric pull-ups, 20 percent (3 of 15).
In patients with advanced cancer, extensive esopha-geal resection into the chest is often required, and gastric pull-up seems to be an easier and more direct form of reconstruction. In limited resection of the hypopharynx and esophagus, especially with proximal lesions, free jejunal transfer is simpler and avoids mediastinal dissection. This concept as well as other advantages and disadvantages of both techniques will be discussed.