Superior posterior pulmonary vein anomaly in the right upper lobe (anomalous V2), which is one of the anomalies of the right superior pulmonary vein (RSPV), runs behind the right main or intermediate bronchus. Although this rarely occurs, attention should be given to this venous anomaly during thoracoscopic esophagectomy with subcarinal lymph node dissection. Here, we report a case of thoracoscopic esophagectomy with subcarinal lymph node dissection in the prone position for lower thoracic esophageal cancer with anomaly of the superior posterior pulmonary vein in the right lobe (anomalous V2).
A 61-year-old man was diagnosed as having lower esophageal cancer with swelling of multiple lymph nodes in the mediastinum and abdomen. His clinical diagnosis based on the eighth TNM classification system was cT3 N2 M0 stage IIIB. In addition, an anomalous V2 was recognized on preoperative computed tomography imaging before the operation. The vein ran behind the intermediate bronchus and drained into the RSPV located at the area of the subcarinal lymph node. We performed preoperative simulation by using virtual thoracoscopic imaging with the same view as that during operation to help us better dissect the lymph nodes. As a result, thoracoscopic esophagectomy and subcarinal lymph node dissection were performed in the prone position without injuring the anomalous V2. Severe complications did not occur in the postoperative course except for paralysis of the left recurrent laryngeal nerve. The patient was discharged on postoperative day 17.
Injury to an anomalous V2 can cause severe hemorrhage during subcarinal lymph node dissection in esophagectomy. Preoperative simulation by using virtual thoracoscopic imaging is useful to avoid this complication in patients with an anatomical anomaly.