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A transthoracic esophagectomy, also known as an Ivor Lewis esophagectomy, is a procedure in which part of the esophagus is removed. During this surgery, small incisions are made in the chest and another is made on the abdomen. The cancerous portion of the esophagus is removed, along with the surrounding lymph nodes and a small margin of healthy tissue above and below the tumor. The stomach is made into a cylinder, pulled up into the chest and connected to the remaining section of the esophagus.

A transthoracic esophagectomy is sometimes performed as a traditional (open) surgery, although at Moffitt Cancer Center it is mostly performed using minimally invasive techniques known as robotic surgery. At Moffitt, we use a variety of innovative approaches, selecting the right option for each patient based on a comprehensive evaluation of his or her needs. When determining which approach to use for a transthoracic esophagectomy – or any other type of esophageal cancer surgery – we make note of:

  • The stage of the tumor
  • The patient’s age and medical history (certain other medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, can influence the type of surgery recommended)
  • The potential benefits of each approach (for instance, robotic procedures often have lower complication rates and shorter recovery times)

At Moffitt, we perform esophagectomies using traditional, minimally invasive and robotic surgery techniques. Because we are a high-volume cancer center, our surgeons have extensive experience in performing a variety of complex procedures using the latest technologies, such as the da Vinci® Surgical System, to improve our patients’ outcomes and quality of life. In fact, Moffitt surgeons perform the most robotic esophageal and thoracic procedures in the Southeast of the United States.

Referrals are not required to consult with the experienced oncologists at Moffitt. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. Our team can evaluate your diagnosis and help you determine if a transthoracic esophagectomy would be an appropriate addition to your treatment plan.