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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What do I need to know about an esophagectomy?

An esophagectomy is surgery to remove part or all of your esophagus. An esophagectomy is usually done to treat cancer of the esophagus. It can also be done if your esophagus does not work properly or has severe damage or trauma.

How do I prepare for an esophagectomy?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she will tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.

What will happen during an esophagectomy?

What will happen after an esophagectomy?

You may need to stay in the hospital for up to 2 weeks after surgery.

What are the risks of an esophagectomy?

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Fluid may leak into your chest or abdomen. Your vocal cords may become paralyzed. You may have difficulty swallowing. Food may move too quickly or slowly into your intestines. You may feel full quickly or vomit when you eat. Reflux is also a risk. Reflux is when fluid backs up from your stomach into your esophagus.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.