Background: Morbidity and mortality remain significant for transthoracic (TT) and transhiatal (TH) esophagectomy. We report a case-specific approach employing either resection to minimize perioperative morbidity and mortality. Methods: All primary esophageal resections performed for benign and malignant esophageal disease were reviewed over a 10-year period. The operative approach was tailored to the location and extent of disease and the physiologic reserve of the patient. Results: In all, 115 patients underwent esophagectomy for benign (25) and malignant (90) disease. Fifty-six TT and 59 TH resections were performed. Four emergent TT cases did not have reconstruction. There was 1 hospital mortality. Perioperative transfusion was avoided in 65 patients. Respiratory complications occurred in 15. Three patients had a cervical anastomotic leak requiring open wound drainage. No association between resection type and complication was evident. Conclusions: The judicious use of both TT and TH esophagectomy resulted in an operative mortality of less than 1%, reduced operative blood loss, and a relatively low rate of perioperative complications.