The esophagus is the muscular tube extending from the neck to the abdomen and connects the back of the throat to the stomach. Below are some of the more common procedures associated with esophageal surgery.
Barrett’s esophagus (sometimes called Barrett’s syndrome, CELLO, columnar epithelium lined lower oesophagus or colloquially as Barrett’s) refers to an abnormal change (metaplasia) in the cells of the lower end of the esophagus thought to be caused by damage from chronic acid exposure, or reflux esophagitis. Barrett’s esophagus is found in about 10% of patients who seek medical care for heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux). It is considered to be a premalignant condition and is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as chronic symptoms or mucosal damage produced by the abnormal reflux in the esophagus. This is commonly due to transient or permanent changes in the barrier between the esophagus and the stomach. This can be due to incompetence of the cardia, transient cardia relaxation, impaired expulsion of gastric reflux from the esophagus, or a hiatus hernia. If the reflux reaches the throat, it is called laryngopharyngeal reflux disease.
Achalasia and Esophageal Motility Disorders
Achalasia, also known as esophageal achalasia, achalasia cardiae, cardiospasm, dyssynergia esophagus, and esophageal aperistalsis, is an esophageal motility disorder. The smooth muscle layer of the esophagus loses normal peristalsis (muscular ability to move food down the esophagus), and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to relax properly in response to swallowing. Achalasia is characterized by difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, and sometimes chest pain.
Esophageal cancer is malignancy of the esophagus. There are various subtypes. Esophageal tumors usually lead to dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), pain and other symptoms, and are diagnosed with biopsy. Small and localized tumors are treated surgically with curative intent. Larger tumors tend not to be operable and hence cannot be cured; their growth can still be delayed with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of the two. In some cases chemotherapy and radiotherapy can render these larger tumors operable.