Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy

What is a minimally invasive esophagectomy?

Esophagectomy is a complex surgery that involves removal of the cancerous part of the esophagus. The segment of the esophagus that is removed is replaced or reconstructed, with surgeons often using a portion of the stomach. 

 

What happens during the procedure?

Most esophagectomies are open surgeries, which require larger incisions. However, Drs. Bauer and Abbas have advanced training and extensive experience performing minimally-invasive esophagectomy, which includes the use of robotic, thoracoscopic and laparoscopic techniques. In the minimally invasive esophagectomy, small incisions are made and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is performed with laparoscopic instruments to remove the esophagus.

 

What are the benefits to a minimally invasive esophagectomy?

Minimally invasive surgery uses smaller incisions than open surgery, which can have several benefits. Talk to your doctor, if you are eligible.

This procedure has potential to:

  • Minimize trauma to the body
  • Reduce blood loss and need for transfusion
  • Speed the patient recovery process
  • Decrease post-operative pain

 

What happens after the procedure?

The most common problem is learning how to eat again. When the esophagus is removed, the surgical team creates a tube out of the stomach to replace the esophagus, so the patient has no more stomach.

Patients need to eat smaller amounts and more frequently, up to six meals a day. Eventually they will go to a normal diet because the tube eventually stretches, but it takes six months to a year to get there.

Most patients are able to resume the lifestyle they had prior to surgery, but it takes six months to a year.

 

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