Thoracoscopic-laparoscopic surgery

Sometimes it is necessary for the surgeon to go through the chest to free up the esophagus. You may need this type of surgery if:

  • the location of your tumor is higher up in the esophagus
  • you have certain medical conditions that would make this type of surgery better for you
  • you have already had surgery in the chest or abdomen area

Your surgeon will explain the reasons why this surgery is better for you.

Thoracoscopic incision sites

The ports are placed between your ribs in your right side. Your ports may be placed in slightly different locations.

Before surgery, you will receive medicine (anesthesia) to make you fall asleep. You will be placed on your left side.

The thoracic (chest) surgeon will lead this portion of surgery. Your right lung will be deflated for a short time so the surgeon can have better access to your esophagus.

The surgeon will make four incisions, each about one-half inch, on the right side of your chest. These incisions, or ports, are used for the video camera and instruments used during your surgery.

Moving the esophagus

Freeing up the esophagus is the first part of this surgery. You will then be placed on your back for the next part of the surgery.

The surgeon will loosen (or free up) the esophagus. When this part of the surgery is completed, a chest tube will be inserted to re-inflate your right lung.

The chest tube will remain in place for several days after surgery to make sure your lung remains inflated and to drain any fluid that might collect.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Your Esophageal Cancer Surgery, surg-ahc-93825
First Published: 05/15/2009
Last Reviewed: 05/15/2009