Diseases of the esophagus that can be treated with surgery include cancers of the esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, achalasia, Zenker's and epiphrenic diverticula, Nutcracker esophagus, diffuse esophageal spasm, hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter syndrome and Barrett's esophagus.
Henry Ford has one of the largest surgical esophageal programs in the state. Our veteran surgeons consistently meet top quality standards for surgical treatments of the esophagus. We have earned the prestigious 5-star top rating from Healthgrades.com, a leading online authority for quality in medicine. Our rating acknowledges that Henry Ford physicians have better than expected outcomes with their care.
According to national quality measures, Henry Ford's program ranks among the top in the state. Our surgeons have performed more than 1,000 procedures on the esophagus. They also developed the innovative endoscopic ablation of the esophagus for the treatment of Barrett's esophagus. The innovative care also extends to esophageal resections where Henry Ford surgeons have developed a technique that allows for the resection of the esophagus, in treatment of acid reflux, while giving the patient fewer post-operative complications.
How our surgeons make a difference
Surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital approach the treatment of diseases of the esophagus with the goal of not only improving their health, but also ensuring that the patient has a good quality of life after the treatment.
Patients with tumors in the esophagus, for instance, are not immediately rushed to the operating room. Instead, all patients at Henry Ford receive a thorough medical and physical work-up along with x-ray scans of the chest and abdomen and a procedure, called an endoscopic ultrasound, where a small camera is inserted in the patient’s esophagus to determine the tumor’s thickness and whether any lymph nodes are involved.
Some patients receive additional more high-tech x-rays and scans, a bronchoscopy, where the lungs are examined, and a scan of the brain to determine if there are any neurological problems. Many patients with esophageal cancer receive chemotherapy or radiation before surgery. After chemotherapy or radiation, doctors examine the tumor with to see what effect the treatment had. Not all patients need this treatment. Some don’t want it. And for some, the cancer is in such an early stage, it is not needed. In this case, research has shown that patients with esophageal cancer who had chemotherapy before their surgery may live longer than patients who just have the surgery.
What differentiates the Henry Ford's esophagus program from many others is that not all esophageal tumors are treated the same. Treatment plans are tailored for each patient’s circumstances. After the diagnosis, our doctors determine the type, stage and location of the tumor, and from those factors determine the type of surgery or treatment the patient will receive.