A physician at Heywood Hospital in Massachusetts, Dr. Konstantino Avradopoulos is an accomplished clinician and researcher in the field of surgical oncology. Dr.Avradopoulos draws on a detailed understanding of esophageal cancers and resective treatments thereof.
Esophageal cancer develops when malignant cells grow within the lining of the esophagus, a muscular tube that carries food and drink from the mouth to the stomach. Most patients with esophageal cancer undergo surgery in the form of an esophagectomy, through which physicians remove the cancerous portion of the esophagus.
Cancers that grow lower in the esophagus typically require the surgeon to remove a portion of the stomach as well as the cancerous portion of the esophagus and up to 4 inches of healthy esophagus above. The surgeon then raises the stomach into the chest cavity or neck so that the patient can swallow normally.
If the cancer is in the middle or upper portion of the esophagus, the surgeon will likely need to remove the majority of the esophagus. Again, he or she will lift the stomach up to re-form the connection. If this is not possible, the surgeon may use part of the intestine to connect the remaining esophageal tissue to the stomach.
Some patients must undergo esophagectomy with an open approach. This requires cuts in the abdomen, chest, neck, or an appropriate combination of the three, depending on the location of the tumor. Patients with early-stage cancer may be able to undergo the surgery endoscopically. In this case, the surgeon may create a small opening in the skin through which specialized instrumentation can remove the cancer.