An esophagectomy is a surgery to treat esophageal cancer, esophagus injury or certain swallowing disorders. A surgical team removes the diseased part of the esophagus and replaces it with a section of stomach. This allows patients to swallow normally.
We use the latest advances in robotic surgery and multidisciplinary care. The benefits of our program include minimally invasive procedures, enhanced recovery times, less pain and a multidisciplinary care team. As a result, patients experience significantly improved postoperative outcomes compared to traditional techniques.
The PREMIER Program uses state-of-the-art robotic technology to perform the entire esophagectomy through five small finger-tip-sized incisions in the abdomen and a small incision on the left side of the neck. This approach means that your surgery team does not need to make large incisions in the abdomen or chest, reducing the risk of complications and speeding up recovery times.
Here for you at Every Step of Your JourneyThis innovative technique will enable you to start eating by mouth the day after surgery, meaning that you don’t need feeding tubes. Patients typically experience significantly less pain and discomfort due to the absence of chest incisions and rib tubes. Because of this, most patients are discharged from the hospital within three to five days instead of 10- to 14-day stays that are typical with conventional techniques.
Multidisciplinary Team Approach
The PREMIER Program has a multidisciplinary team that will tailor care to your specific needs. This team includes experts from various disciplines, ensuring the best possible care and management throughout your journey. This approach leads to better outcomes and more personalized care.
- Esophagologists: Esophagologists are gastroenterologists (GI physicians) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that impact swallowing. Your esophagologist will perform a thorough exam, review your past medical history and determine what testing is needed to better understand your swallowing. They will work with our surgeons to determine if surgery is the best option for treatment. In addition, they will help manage your condition before and after surgery.
- Interventional gastroenterologists: These physicians perform minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures to diagnose and treat conditions of the esophagus.
- Esophageal surgeons: Esophageal surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of cancer and functional esophageal diseases. This is the surgeon who will perform your surgery, if indicated. They will explain the procedure and risks associated with the surgery and will work collaboratively with your other physicians to develop your treatment plan.
- Medical oncologists (for patients with cancer): Medical oncologists coordinate systemic chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
- Radiation oncologists (for patients with cancer): Radiation therapy may be indicated for patients with esophageal cancer. If you need radiation therapy, your radiation oncologist will tailor a treatment plan to you and work with your medical oncologist and surgeon to provide your care.
- Dietitians: Your dietitian will manage your nutrition throughout your care to support your overall health. They will also help you with any special dietary needs to manage co-existing medical conditions.
- Physical therapists: Your physical therapist will assess your individual needs and develop a tailored exercise program that allows you to build strength and endurance so you are in the best condition possible before and after surgery.
- Referring physicians: Your surgical team will work closely with your referring physician(s) to provide ongoing care for you after surgery. Your primary care physician will play a vital role for your routine care after surgery.
- Social workers: Your social worker acts as an advocate for your psychosocial needs.
- Patient liaison: Your patient liaison will coordinate and manage your referral to the Northwestern Medicine Esophageal and Foregut Surgery Program. They will obtain necessary medical records, coordinate care and obtain financial clearance prior to your evaluation.
Benefits of the PREMIER Program
- Shorter hospital stay
- Better recovery
- Multidisciplinary care
Meet the Team
Members of our Northwestern Medicine PREMIER Esophageal Surgical Program team have made fundamental discoveries to positively impact the care of patients with esophageal diseases.