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Esophageal Surgery


​Surgery on the esophagus may be performed to treat a variety of conditions such as cancerous esophageal tumors, benign esophageal tumors and motility disorders.  There are a variety of approaches to esophageal surgery depending upon the condition and needs of the individual patient.  In some cases, esophageal surgery can be performed with minimally invasive techniques such as with robotic surgical system, a laparoscope, or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).

Cancerous Esophageal Tumors

The two most common types of esophageal cancers are referred to as "Adenocarcinoma" and "Squamous Cell Carcinoma".  Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer of the esophagus.  A surgical procedure called an Esaphagectomy may be performed in which a portion of the diseased esophagus is removed.

Benign Esophageal Tumors

The most common type of benign esophageal tumors are called "Leiomyomas" and they generally occur in the smooth muscle of the esophagus.  Esophagectomy may also be required for the treatment of benign esophageal tumors.

Motility Disorders

Motility disorders are related to the passage of food through the esophagus and into the stomach as modulated by the separating these two organs.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)

This is a condition resulting from an insufficiency in the valve separating the esophagus and stomach.  In this condition, the valve does not close properly allowing acidic fluid from the stomach to lead into the bottom of the esophagus.  The acidic fluid causes damage to the bottom of the esophagus.  Surgical treatment may result in the best outcome for this condition when symptoms of the disorder are severe and medical management has proven ineffective.  Surgical treatment for this condition may also be combined with repair of a hiatal hernia. 

  • Achalasia

This condition is characterized by an absence of appropriate muscular contractions in the lower portion of the esophagus and by lack of proper opening of the valve separating the esophagus and stomach, thus preventing the passage of food from the lower part of the esophagus into the stomach.  Surgical treatment is recommended for many patients with this condition.  The operation is designed to sever the muscles of the valve between the esophagus and stomach allowing food to more freely move into the stomach.

Our surgeons who perform this procedure


This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.