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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Esophageal Diseases

The esophagus provides the route for food, fluids, and saliva to pass from your mouth to your stomach, extending from the back of your throat to your stomach, passing through your neck, chest, and abdomen. It is described as having three portions:

  • Upper (cervical)
  • Middle (thoracic)
  • Lower (abdominal)

The Thoracic Surgery Program of Northwestern Memorial Hospital treats diseases of the upper, middle, and lower esophagus. Diseases of the esophagus the Program treats include:

  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Esophageal motility disorders
  • Achalasia and dysphagia


It may be necessary to perform surgery for treatment of some diseases of the esophagus, in order to help a patient become healthy again. Some surgical options for diseases of the esophagus include:

Anti-Reflux Surgeries

In some cases, surgery may be considered as an alternative to long-term use of drugs or physical discomfort.

Nissen fundoplication—in this specific fundoplication procedure, the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter to repair a hiatal hernia, prevent acid reflux, and strengthen the sphincter itself. This surgery may be performed using a laparoscope, which is inserted into the body through tiny incisions in the abdomen. Patients who receive this surgery typically leave the hospital in 1 to 3 days, and may return to work in 2 to 3 weeks.

Endoscopic techniques—these techniques use an endoscope to perform the operation, and include:

  • Bard® EndoCinch™ system
  • NDO Plicator
  • Stretta system

Your doctor will consult with you about possible techniques, procedures, and approaches best-suited for your particular condition.

Why Choose Northwestern Memorial?

The Thoracic Surgery Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers the latest surgical procedures for benign and malignant diseases of the chest, including the tracheobronchial tree (airways), lungs, pleura, esophagus, diaphragm, chest wall and mediastinum.

Last UpdateJanuary 24, 2012