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Thoracic Surgery

Ivor Lewis Esophagectomy

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Esophagectomy is the surgical removal of part of the esophagus. The Ivor Lewis is a specific, two-stage esophagectomy. The lower part of the esophagus and upper part of the stomach are removed, and the remaining parts are connected to re-establish the digestive tract. This procedure is the treatment of choice for esophageal cancers.

The esophagus is a hollow tube that moves food and liquids from the throat to the stomach. It is located just behind the trachea (windpipe) and, in an adult, is about 10 inches long. The wall of the esophagus is made up of several layers of tissue, including mucous membrane, muscle and connective tissue. 

The Surgery

The surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen and removes part of the stomach, which is formed into a replacement esophagus. Next, the surgeon makes an incision in the chest to remove the diseased part of the esophagus, insert the newly formed esophagus, and re-attach the esophagus to the remainder of the stomach. 

The procedure takes about 5 hours.

For important information on the risks of and preparation for esophageal surgery, please see Before Thoracic Surgery.

For post-operative information, please see After Thoracic Surgery.

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