If a loved one is going to have an esophagus surgery, there are many potential questions that a person should ask in order to figure out more about the procedure and take care of the person as well as possible. The first thing to ascertain is the reason why the person requires an esophagus procedure. The person may need an esophagus cancer surgery or have one to repair the esophagus after an injury such as a caustic ingestion of an acid or a base. Sometimes an esophagus surgery is required for a disease called achalasia or Chagas disease. Other times the person is having esophagus pain from reflux and needs to have the surgery to repair the esophagus from the damage of the reflux.
One of the most common procedures is Barretts esophagus surgery. Barretts esophagus is a type of pre cancerous condition where the lower tissues of the esophagus start to mutate into abnormal tissues. This is a the result of continual acid reflux into the lower esophagus. As the acid eats into the wall of the esophagus, it causes the esophagus to develop defense mechanisms. One of those mechanisms is to change the types of the cells that are more stomach like. When the esophagus cells change, they have the potential to develop into a cancer. This mutation of the cells is called Barretts esophagus, named after Dr. Barrett.
Barretts esophagus surgery is usually done by an endoscopy. The doctor will use a scope and look down into the esophagus. If a lot of Barretts is seen, the doctor will use a tool to cut out the barretts from the esophagus. The esophagus will be cauterized in order to prevent it from bleeding extensively. The esophagus will heal rather well from this procedure as it is minimally invasive. The patient will be partially awake and slightly sedated during the procedure so that they do not move and do not remember the procedure or have esophagus pain.
There are more intensive types of esophagus cancer surgery. In people who develop more serious cancers than the pre cancerous barretts, sometimes the entire esophagus needs to be removed. This is a very serious procedure since the abdomen and part of the thorax is going to need to be cut into to reveal the esophagus. The recovery from an esophagectomy takes quite a long time and the patient will likely have to stay in the hospital for a while during their recovery.
In an esophagus surgery like and Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy, the esophagus is removed en bloc if possible. Surgeons like to keep everything in one piece if possible. Then once the esophagus is out, they will create a new esophagus from the stomach and other tissues. Most of the time they can fashion and esophagus from the different tissues in the stomach and other organs. As the patient heals and slowly begins eating again, the tissues will stabilize. At first the patient will have a hard time eating.
For patients with a cancer, a large procedure is necessary if they would like to try to fight it. Without and esophagus surgery to remove the tumor in the esophagus, it will spread to the rest of the organs.