(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
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 medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure
- 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 laproscopic 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.
- A robot-assisted procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Walking every day.
- Avoid heavy lifting for 6-8 weeks.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
- 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: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014 -
- Update Date: 05/23/2014 -
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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