(Removal of the Esophagus)
Reasons for Procedure
- Esophageal cancer
- Benign tumors and cysts of the esophagus
- Other esophageal abnormalities
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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 —a test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body
- Ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine structures in the body
- CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to take pictures of structures in the body
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures in the body
- Upper endoscopy —a thin, lighted tube inserted down the throat to examine the esophagus
- 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 (eg, aspirin )
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- 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 medicines.
- Shower using antibacterial soap the night before the surgery.
Description of the Procedure
- One large incision (open procedure)—The doctor will locate the diseased area and remove it.
- Several small incisions ( robot-assisted procedure )—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 medicines 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 medicines you have been given
- Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- 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/
National Cancer Institute of Canada http://www.ncic.cancer.ca/
Esophageal cancer—esophagectomy. University of Maryland Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/thoracic/esoph%5Fsurgery.html . Accessed March 1, 2007.
Ivor Lewis esophagectomy. Roswell Park Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.roswellpark.org/Patient%5FCare/Types%5Fof%5FCancer/Esophageal/Esophageal%5FCenter%5FPatient%5FHandbook/Ivor%5FLewis%5FEsophagectomy . Accessed March 1, 2007.
Robot-assisted thoracic procedures PIB. Health Library website. Available at: http://healthlibrary.epnet.com/GetContent.aspx?account=hotk2 . Accessed March 1, 2007.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -