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Esophageal Cancer Surgery in Tacoma

Surgical Procedure from Our Office in the South Puget Sound Area

An esophagectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove part or all of the esophagus in order to potentially cure a patient’s esophageal cancer. The remaining esophagus is then attached to the stomach, which may be shifted up into the chest depending on how much of the esophagus had to be removed.

How Much of the Esophagus Will Need to Be Removed During an Esophagectomy?

Each case is different, but generally you can expect your surgeon to remove the cancerous tissue and 3-4 inch margins around it to make sure that no cancer is left behind. Part of the stomach may need to be cut away as well if it has been affected by the cancer.

If the surgeon is unable to join the stomach with the modified esophagus, they may elect to replace the missing tissue with a piece of the intestine. This method typically works quite well, though it is imperative that the intestine be relocated without damaging its blood vessels since this would cause the tissue of the intestine to die.

Some nearby lymph nodes will be removed during the esophagectomy as well. By testing these lymph nodes, Northwest Medical Specialties will be better able to determine whether or not your cancer is likely to spread. If cancerous cells are found within the lymph nodes, your specialist is likely to recommend other treatment methods such as chemotherapy or radiation.

How Extensive is an Esophagectomy Procedure?

For many years esophagectomies have been performed as open surgeries, which require large incisions that take a great deal of time to heal. With modern technologies, surgeons are now able to perform minimally invasive esophagectomies, though these are typically only advised for patients diagnosed with early stages of esophageal cancer.