Esophageal Cancer Surgery
- An esophagectomy, which is a surgical procedure to remove some or all of the esophagus, can be used to remove esophageal cancer in some cases.
- There are several potentially serious side effects from this surgery that should be discussed with all patients.
- The surgery can lead to a “leak,” which can cause issues eating, swallowing, and lead to infection.
- While the goal of surgery is to remove cancer, reconstruction is also key to avoiding complications.
“An esophagectomy, which is the operation that you do to remove esophageal cancer, is probably considered one of the biggest interventions surgically that you can do to another human being,” Dr. Raja Flores, a thoracic surgeon with Mount Sinai Health System, told SurvivorNet. “It is a surgery where if it is not done right can be fraught with a lot of complications. Even when it is done right, it is a surgical procedure that can have complications that can compromise the quality of life.”Read More
Other potential complications include:
- Other infection
- Changes in the voice
- Acid or bile reflux
- Respiratory complications (like pneumonia)
- Difficulty swallowing
Dr. Flores noted that with esophagectomies, curing the cancer is obviously the priority, but reconstruction is just as important to avoid as many of these potential side effects as possible.