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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1998 Jun;115(6):1241-7; discussion 1247-9.

Esophageal replacement for end-stage benign esophageal disease.

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Department of Surgery, University of Rochester, NY, USA.



Benign esophageal diseases constitute a common group of disorders that are generally managed with medical therapy or surgery designed to improve foregut function. A small subset of patients, however, has advanced disease that requires esophageal replacement to achieve symptomatic relief.


One hundred four patients with benign esophageal disease who underwent esophageal reconstruction over a 21-year period (1975 to 1996) were reviewed retrospectively. Dysphagia was the major symptom driving surgery in 80% of the patients. Colon was used to reconstruct the esophagus in 85 patients; stomach, in 10 patients; and jejunum, in 9 patients. Forty-two patients who had lived with their reconstruction for 1 year or more answered a postoperative questionnaire concerning their long-term functional outcome.


In the 104 patients, the primary underlying abnormality leading to esophageal replacement was end-stage gastroesophageal reflux (37 patients), an advanced motility disorder (37 patients), traumatic, iatrogenic or spontaneous perforation (15 patients), corrosive injury (8 patients), congenital abnormality (6 patients), or extensive leiomyoma (1 patient). Ninety-eight percent of patients reported that the operation had cured or improved the symptom driving surgery. Ninety-three percent were satisfied with the outcome of the operation. The overall hospital mortality rate was 2%, and the median hospital stay was 17 days. Graft necrosis occurred in 3% of patients, and anastomotic leak occurred in 6% of patients (or 2% of the total number of anastomoses).


Esophageal replacement for benign disease can be accomplished with a low mortality rate and a marked improvement in alimentation. Reconstruction restores the pleasure of eating and is viewed by the patient to be highly successful.

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