Background. NOTES techniques allow transesophageal access to the mediastinum. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of transesophageal biopsy of thoracic vertebrae. Methods. Nonsurvival experiments on four 50-kg porcine animals were performed. Transesophageal access to the mediastinum was attained using submucosal tunneling technique. Results. The posterior mediastinum was successfully accessed and navigated in all animals. Vertebral bodies and intervertebral spaces were easily approached while avoiding damage to adjacent vessels. Bone biopsy was successfully performed without complications, but the hardness of bone tissue resulted in small and fragmented samples. Conclusions. Peroral transesophageal access into the posterior mediastinum and thoracic vertebral bone biopsy was feasible and safe. The proximity of the esophagus to the vertebral column provides close and direct access to the thoracic spine and opens up new ground for the performance of multilevel anterior spine procedures using NOTES techniques.
ASJC Scopus subject areas