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Esophageal Cancer

Less-Invasive Surgery for Cancer of the Esophagus

For patients with esophageal cancer, transhiatal esophagectomy without thoracotomy (removing the esophagus without opening the chest) was pioneered and refined at the University of Michigan by Mark Orringer, M.D. More than 2,000 patients have undergone this operation at the University of Michigan in the past 30 years, giving U-M physicians the most experience with this procedure in the United States.

Jerry Poisson describes his experience with the U-M Rogel Cancer Center's Esophageal Cancer Program

The operative mortality rate for this procedure at U-M is less than 3%, with an average hospital stay of only seven days. The Thoracic Oncology Program is also a leader in the development of combined modality therapy for esophageal cancer, a therapy in which patients are treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery in an attempt to improve their chances for survival.

Research and Innovation:

The U-M Thoracic Oncology Program has a variety of clinical trials available, ranging from chemoprevention studies to the evaluation of state-of-the-art investigational therapies. The team's expertise with emerging technologies, including:

  • stereotactic radiosurgery
  • radiofrequency ablation
  • photodynamic therapy
  • esophageal and airway stenting
  • ultrasound-guided transbronchial/transesophageal biopsy
  • video-assisted thoracoscopy


Since our program is part of the U-M Rogel Cancer Center, our patients have access to Patient Support Services. To fully understand what this means, please take time to visit the support services area of this website. We outline the services available to our patients at every point in their care.

In addition, the Esophagectomy Support Group is available to patient through the Department of Surgery.

Make an appointment/referral to the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancer Clinic or have your questions answered

Our Patient Care Center is staffed by oncology nurses and is just a phone call away to answer your questions or to assist you in making an appointment. Please call 800-865-1125 to make an appointment or for the answers to questions you may have.

If you would like to refer a patient, please contact our M-LINE service: 800-962-3555.

For more information, visit our Appointments web page. Or, visit the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancer Clinic.

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