Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Head and Neck Cancer

Closed esophagus due to radiation treatment

08/01/2011

Question:

I had stage throat cancer in 2009 and the radiation treatment left my esophagus with a lot of scar tissue which closed off the esophagus (I am presently cancer free). I can not swallow my salvia or any other nourishment. I am feeding my self through a PEG tube at the present time but would like to eat real food again. I have researched the dilation of the esophagus but if that does not work I would like to know what other options are available.

Answer:

The first option to take care of this issue is esophageal dilation. Most often it is required once but occasionally may need to be repeated. This works 95% of the time. However, if that is not successful the options we have are the following: you stay the way you are and remain fed through the PEG tube or you consider surgery. The surgery involves removing the stenotic section and reconstructing the area with tissue taken from another part of your body, such as your forearm. This option is much more involved and most of the time requires that the larynx be removed. These options are best discussed with your head and neck surgeon.

For more information:

Go to the Head and Neck Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Cheryl  Koliha-Brandt, MSN, RN, CNS, CORLN Cheryl Koliha-Brandt, MSN, RN, CNS, CORLN
Clinical Nurse Specialist and Instructor of
Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology 
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University

Pierre  Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS Pierre Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University