An open esophagectomy is the removal of all or part of the esophagus via one or two large incisions.
An esophagectomy is the main type of surgery to treat cancer in the upper part of the esophagus. It is done for people who have early stage esophageal cancer that has not spread to the stomach. For this procedure, the surgeon removes:
- The part of the esophagus that contains the cancer.
- Lymph nodes that are near the esophagus.
If a patient has squamous cell cancer, the surgeon may need to remove a larger part of the esophagus because the cancer tends to start in the middle and upper parts of the esophagus.
After taking out part of the esophagus, the surgeon reconnects the parts that remain, called a reanastomosis. Or the surgeon reconnects the esophagus to the stomach. Sometimes the surgeon must use part of the intestine to join the parts together.