What is Esophagus Surgery or Esophagectomy?

What is Esophagus Surgery or Esophagectomy?

Esophagus Surgery is a surgical procedure that involves removing some or all of the swallowing tube (esophagus) between your mouth and stomach and reconstructing it with a portion of another organ, usually the stomach. 

Checkout Dr.Dhval Video for more details:

Why is Esophagus Surgery performed?

Esophagectomy is a common treatment for advanced esophageal cancer and is also used to treat Barrett’s esophagus when aggressive precancerous cells are present. Noncancerous conditions, such as end-stage achalasia or strictures, or ingestion of material that damages the lining of the esophagus, may also necessitate an esophagectomy.

Esophagus Surgery For Cancer:

The primary surgical treatment for esophageal cancer is esophagectomy. It is performed to either remove cancer or alleviate symptoms.

The surgeon removes all or part of the esophagus during an open esophagectomy through an incision in the neck, chest, or abdomen. The esophagus is replaced by another organ, most commonly the stomach, but it can also be the small or large intestine.

In most instances, esophagectomy can be performed using minimally invasive surgery, including laparoscopy, robot-assisted surgery, or a combination of these methods. When the individual situation requires it, these procedures are performed through a series of small incisions and can result in less pain and faster recovery than traditional surgery.

Types of Esophagus Surgery:

Esophagectomy can be performed in a variety of ways. Whatever technique is used, esophagectomy is not a simple operation and may necessitate a lengthy hospital stay. It is critical to have it done at a facility that has extensive experience treating these cancers and performing these procedures.

Open Esophagus Surgery:

The surgeon operates through one or more large incisions (cuts) in the neck, chest, or abdomen in the standard, open technique (belly).

  • A transhiatal esophagectomy is performed when the main incisions are made in the neck and abdomen.
  • A transthoracic esophagectomy is when the main incisions are in the chest and abdomen.
  • Some procedures may require incisions in all three locations: the neck, chest, and abdomen.

Minimal Invasive Esophagus Surgery:

In the scenario of such initial (small) cancers, the esophagus can be removed through a series of small incisions rather than a single large incision. To see everything during the operation, the surgeon inserts a laparoscope (a thin flexible tube with a light) through one of the incisions. 

The surgical instruments are then introduced through additional small incisions. To perform this type of procedure successfully, the surgeon must be highly skilled and have extensive experience removing the esophagus in this manner.

Minimally invasive esophagectomy may allow the patient to leave the hospital sooner, have less blood loss, and recover faster because it uses smaller incisions.

Reattaching a section of your esophagus to your stomach

When the cancer is only in the esophagus, this operation is used. Cancer and some healthy tissue surrounding it are removed by the surgeon. They then reconnect the healthy part of your stomach to your stomach and pull it up into your chest.

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Your surgeon may use a portion of your bowel to replace the esophageal section removed. Instead of connecting the esophagus to the stomach, this is done. This is a rare operation performed by surgeons.

Getting your whole Esophagus removed

You may need to have your entire esophagus removed. This is total oesophageal resection.

Your surgeon will use your stomach or, in rare cases, a part of your digestive tract to replace the section of your esophagus that was separated.

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The surgeon pulls your stomach up into your chest when they use the stomach to replace the esophagus.

Risk Factors:

There is a risk of complications with esophagectomy, which may include:

  • Bleeding or Infection
  • Cough
  • Leakage from the esophageal-to-gastric surgical connection
  • Alterations in your voice
  • Reflux of acid or bile
  • Vomiting/nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pneumonia
  • Having difficulty swallowing (Dysphagia)

Medications Before/After Surgery:

Consult your doctor about:

  • When you can resume taking your regular medications and whether you can do so before the surgery. 
  • If you are taking blood thinners, some of them must be stopped a few days before the surgery.
  • When you should refrain from eating or drinking the night before surgery.
  • Taking additional nutritional shakes and switching to a liquid diet two to three days before surgery may help to empty an oesophagus that has a tendency to fill with food and complicate esophageal removal.
  • Any medications you had taken to a hospital, as well as when you should take them on the day of the procedure
  • Any side effects or allergies to the medications you have.

With the advances in medical and patient care, this surgery has evolved into a safe procedure with low mortality rates.

For the best possible outcomes, seek out an experienced surgeon who specializes in Esophagus Surgery.

Do not limit if you find any of the symptoms or signs related to your esophagus. If you are diagnosed with any of these symptoms, there are ways to treat the problem in the esophagus as soon as it gets detected.

For treatment or to book an appointment contact us on: 0261 280 0000


1. Is esophagus surgery painful?

As with any kind of surgery, some discomfort is to be expected. Medication can efficiently control pain for the majority of patients. Trouble swallowing – If the patient’s esophagus narrows as a result of esophageal cancer surgery, trouble swallowing may occur.

2. How serious is esophagus surgery?

Surgery of the oesophagus, like most major procedures, carries some risk. Short-term risks include anaesthesia reactions, severe bleeding, blood clotting in the lungs or somewhere else, and infections. Most people will experience some pain following the procedure, which can usually be alleviated with pain medications.

3. How long does it take the esophagus to heal after surgery?

This will take 3 to 4 months to resume your normal activities. This treatment checklist will give you an estimate of how long it will take you to heal. However, everyone recovers at their own pace.

4. What is esophagus surgery?

Esophagus Surgery is a surgical procedure that involves removing some or all of the swallowing tube (oesophagus) between your mouth and stomach and reconstructing it with a portion of another organ, usually the stomach. 

5. What to eat after esophagus surgery?

At first, you will be on a liquid diet. Then, for the first 4 to 8 weeks after surgery, you may eat soft foods. A smooth diet consists of only mashed foods that do not require much chewing. When you return to a normal diet, avoid eating steak and other dense meats because they may be difficult to swallow.

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