Partial esophagus and upper stomach removal

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Can anyone give me examples of their experience of keyhole surgery to remove a portion of the esophagus and upper stomach?

I understand it's obviously less invasive, less scarring and quicker recovery time than open surgery but I've been told that they collapse one of the lungs to gain access to the esophagus and tbh that scares the absolute Bejesus out of me!! 

Looking forward to your replies Slight smile


  • Hi 

    My husband had keyhole /robotic surgery to remove two thirds of his oesophagus and a section of his stomach in Dec ‘22 ..It took around eight hours in theatre ..He was in hospital for eight days ..three of those in the CCU .He had minimal pain due to an epidural for five days post surgery ..He was connected to a variety of tubes ..IV’s and drains which were removed one by one when his med team were happy with his progress . .At his pre op appointment with his surgeon he was given an spirometer to bring home with exercises to strengthen his lungs  He used it for around a week before surgery and everyday whilst he was in hospital .He had no issues with his lung inflating afterwards ..He did say he felt a bit breathless for a day or so immediately after surgery but nothing intense .He also felt very weak as you would expect after major surgery but he was surprised to feel only minimal pain after the epidural was removed and he could manage with paracetamol when he came home ..His outside wounds healed fully after around six weeks  but his internal alterations took around a year or so to eventually adjust and settle .

    All this should be explained to you fully by your medical team .My husband had numerous appointments before surgery with each member of his med team and he understood fully what would be happening on surgery day and afterwards whilst in hospital. It really helped to alleviate his fears ( and mine !) .Of course he was nervous on the day but he has since said that for him the surgery wasn’t the ordeal he anticipated…Obviously this is only his experience and I can’t say it’s the same experience for everyone ..
    Trust your medical team as they really do know what they’re doing ..Ask lots of questions if you need to ..they’ll be happy to answer .

    Hope all goes well for you 

    regards J 

  • Thanks for all the advice. I understand why they do the op but I'm wondering if there are any alternatives? I've read of a few people who have had chemo, radiotherapy and immunotherapy etc and they've got rid of the cancer through those alone. I'd love to be able to do that rather than endure such a big op. I'm only at the start of my odyssey so I'm probably overthinking everything! 



  • Hi 

    Yes there can be alternatives depending on your individual case .We discussed the alternative route of chemo and radiotherapy with my husband’s surgeon , as at the time he was very hesitant about accepting the surgery ...After a chat with his Oncologist he eventually decided to ‘get the dammed thing cut out’  (his words) .He now says he’s glad he opted for the surgery as it was the right route for him . I remember thinking at the time he was stuck between a rock and a hard place as there’s no easy solution. The surgery is life changing so it does require some serious thinking about .

    You can discuss your options with your surgeon and Oncologist and the final decision is yours only ..I remember telling my husband that I would support  whatever decision he made as it was happening to him and not me .They were the most difficult days thinking back now . 

    You have to do what is best for YOU at the end of the day . 

     Best wishes J 

  • Oh thank you so much for that advice. I'm in a good position regarding fitness levels as ironically I've spent the last 12 months getting uber healthy through intermittent fasting, daily HiiT sessions at the gym and following a very low carb (almost keto) diet. FitBit tells me I'm in the top 10% for men my age! I'm sure this will help me greatly when it comes to treatment/surgery. I'm not a religious person but I do believe in something so maybe this change in my lifestyle happened for a reason 

  • Your fitness will put you in good stead for the days ahead whichever route you decide  ..My husband was very fit and active before his illness ..His medical team said he was remarkable for a man of 64 ..
    Although I have to be honest and say he’s been left with some legacies from the whole experience ..His main issues are consequences from the chemotherapy which he found particularly gruelling and unfortunately it affected his joints.(osteoarthritis) He now walks with the aid of a walking stick ..but that’s just him and it doesn’t mean it will happen to you …He’s now 66 and retired and we live each day to the  best of his abilities .It’s been a year or so of adapting and acceptance that life isn’t the same but it’s not over Blush

    Positive thinking and a sense of humour also helps ! Blush 

    regards J