PRESENT interest in surgery of the esophagus demands a knowledge of the intramural blood supply to settle the controversy about mobilization and to fix the blame for the occasional suture line failure as a technical error if the blood supply is found to be adequate.
Divergent opinions regarding the safety of wide mobilization of the esophagus first directed our interest toward the intramural arterial blood supply. Sweet1 has cautioned that "the strictly segmental blood supply must be considered in every resection to avoid necrosis of the suture line" and has advised that an anastomosis should not be performed more than 2 to 3 cm. below the next highest vessel. Gross,2 on the other hand, has practiced wide mobilization and believes that the esophagus may be freed with "impunity" by stripping the entire intrathoracic portion of the esophagus if necessary.
The extrinsic arterial supply to the esophagus has been studied carefully on several occasions