(Removal of the Esophagus)
Reasons for Procedure
- Esophageal cancer
- Benign tumors and cysts of the esophagus
- Other esophageal abnormalities such as achalasia or Barrett esophagus
- Severe trauma
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- Blood clots
- Soreness in throat
- Adverse reaction to the anesthesia
- Leaks from the internal suture line
- Heart attack
- Pre-existing heart or lung conditions
- Increased age
- Excessive alcohol intake
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood and urine tests
- Chest x-ray
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Upper endoscopy
- Place a feeding tube into your small intestine—may be done during the esophagectomy
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
- Blood thinners
- Anti-platelet medications
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital and to help you at home.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Your doctor may ask you to:
- Use an enema to clear your intestines
- Follow a special diet.
- Take antibiotics or other medications.
- Shower using antibacterial soap the night before the surgery.
Description of the Procedure
- An open procedure using one large incision—The diseased area will be located and removed.
- A robot-assisted procedure that uses several small incisions—A tiny camera and small surgical instruments will be inserted through the incisions. Looking at the esophagus on a monitor, the doctor will locate and remove the diseased area.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Your doctor will encourage you to walk every day.
- Avoid heavy lifting for 6-8 weeks.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Esophagectomy. Boston Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.bmc.org/esophagealtherapies/treatments/esophagectomy.htm. Accessed August 14, 2013.
Esophagectomy. Massachusetts General Hospital website. Available at: http://www.massgeneral.org/digestive/services/procedure.aspx?id=2296. Accessed August 14, 2013.
Esophagectomy. Memorial Hermann website. Available at: http://www.memorialhermann.org/digestive/esophagectomy. Accessed August 14, 2013.
Esophagectomy. University of California San Francisco website. Available at: http://surgery.ucsf.edu/conditions--procedures/esophagectomy.aspx. Accessed August 14, 2013.
Surgical removal of the esophagus (esophagectomy). UC Davis Health System website. Available at: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/surgery/specialties/cardio/esophagus.html. Accessed August 14, 2013.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 05/11/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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