An open procedure uses 1 large incision in the neck, chest, or belly. The diseased area is found and removed.
procedure uses several small incisions in the belly or chest. A tiny camera and small tools are inserted in tubes placed in the incisions. The esophagus can be seen on a screen. The diseased area will be found and removed.
uses several small incisions in the belly or chest. The doctor will guide small robotic arms through the incisions to find and remove the diseased area.
A replacement esophagus will be formed with part of the stomach or large intestine. The remainder of the esophagus will be attached to this replacement. The lymph nodes of people who have cancer may also be removed. One or more chest tubes are placed to drain fluids. The incisions will be closed. Bandages will be placed over them.
How Long Will It Take?
About 6 hours
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first few weeks. Medicine and home care can help.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 1 to 2 weeks. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
Give you pain medicine
Give you nutrition through a feeding tube
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
Not letting others touch your incisions
It will take 6 to 8 weeks to recover. Physical activity will be limited at first. Dietary changes will also need to be made. You will need to ask for help with daily activities and delay return to work.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or pus from the incisions
Esophagectomy. UCSF website. Available at: https://surgery.ucsf.edu/conditions--procedures/esophagectomy.aspx. Accessed December 3, 2020.
Management of esophageal and esophagogastric junction cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/management-of-esophageal-and-esophagogastric-junction-cancer. Accessed December 3, 2020.
Rustgi AK, El-Serag HB. Esophageal carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2014 Dec 25;371(26):2499-2509.
Surgical removal of the esophagus (esophagectomy). UC Davis Health System website. Available at: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/surgery/specialties/cardio/esophagus.html. Accessed December 3, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 4/20/2021
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