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Esophagectomy (Minimally Invasive)

Related Conditions

Esophageal Cancer

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the state's only comprehensive cancer center, offers esophagectomy for patients with esophageal cancer.
 
Definition
 
Esophagectomy means removing the cancerous part of the esophagus through surgery. It is the primary way to treat cancer of the esophagus if it has not spread. During surgery, every attempt is made to use minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy or thoracoscopy.
 
From Our Surgeons: Dr. Kenneth Meredith and Dr. Ryan Macke
 
 
Procedure
 
This procedure involves the use of very small instruments and a magnifying video camera. The surgeon makes tiny (1/5–1/2 inch) incisions in the chest and abdomen, and places the instruments through these incisions.
 
First, the surgeon frees the tumor from the other organs in the chest and abdomen (Figure #1). A miniature stapler is then used to divide and create a gastric tube that will replace the esophagus (Figure #2).
 

Esophagectomy procedure

 

Figure 1

Esophagectomy procedure

 
Figure 2
 
Finally, the surgeon makes a two-inch incision at the base of the neck. The tumor and the surrounding lymph nodes are removed through this incision. The surgeon then reattaches the esophagus to the stomach tube (Figures #3 and #4). 
 

Esophagectomy procedure

 

Figure 3

Esophagectomy procedure

 
Figure 4
 
The surgeon then places a temporary feeding tube in the small intestine. This provides immediate nutrition after surgery and speeds the healing process. The end results are a few small incisions on the chest and abdomen. (Figures #5 & #6)
 

Esophagectomy procedure

 

Figure 5

Esophagectomy procedure


Figure 6