Site Map

Esophagectomy - discharge

Trans-hiatal esophagectomy - discharge; Trans-thoracic esophagectomy - discharge; Minimally invasive esophagectomy - discharge; En bloc esophagectomy - discharge; Removal of the esophagus - discharge

You had surgery to remove part, or all, of your esophagus. This is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

The remaining part of your esophagus and your stomach were rejoined.

Now that you're going home, follow your health care provider's instructions on how to care for yourself at home while you heal. Use the information below as a reminder.

I Would Like to Learn About:

When You're in the Hospital

If you had surgery that used a laparoscope, several small cuts (incisions) were made in your upper belly, chest, or neck. If you had open surgery, larger cuts were made in your belly, chest, or neck.

What to Expect at Home

You may be sent home with a drainage tube in your neck. This will be removed by your surgeon during an office visit.

You may have a feeding tube for 1 to 2 months after surgery. This will help you get enough calories to help you gain weight. You will also be on a special diet when you first get home.

Your stools may be looser and you may have bowel movements more often than before surgery.


Ask your surgeon how much weight is safe for you to lift. You may be told not to lift or carry anything heavier than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms).

You may walk 2 or 3 times a day, go up or down stairs, or ride in a car. Be sure to rest after being active. If it hurts when you do something, stop doing that activity.

Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering. For example, remove throw rugs to prevent tripping and falling. In the bathroom, install safety bars to help you get in and out of the tub or shower.

Your surgeon will give you a prescription for pain medicines. Get it filled on your way home from the hospital so you have it when you need it. Take the medicine when you start having pain. Waiting too long will allow your pain to get worse than it needs to be.

Wound Care

Change your dressings (bandages) every day until your surgeon says you no longer need to keep your incisions bandaged.

Follow instructions for when you can start bathing. Your surgeon may say it is ok to remove the wound dressings and take a shower if sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin. Do not try to wash off the thin strips of tape or glue. They will come off on their own in about a week.

Do not soak in a bathtub, hot tub, or swimming pool until your surgeon tells you it is ok.

If you have large incisions, you may need to press a pillow over them when you cough or sneeze. This helps ease the pain.

Other Self-care

You may be using a feeding tube after you go home. You will likely use it only at nighttime. The feeding tube will not interfere with your normal daytime activities. Follow your surgeon's instructions on diet and eating.

Follow instructions for doing deep-breathing exercises after you get home.

If you are a smoker and are having trouble quitting, talk with your provider about medicines that you can help you quit smoking. Joining a stop-smoking program can help, too.

You may have some skin soreness around your feeding tube. Follow instructions on how to take care of the tube and the surrounding skin.


After surgery, you will need close follow-up:

When to Call the Doctor

Contact your surgeon if you have any of the following:

Related Information

Esophageal cancer
Esophagectomy - minimally invasive
Esophagectomy - open
Tips on how to quit smoking
Gastrostomy feeding tube - bolus
Clear liquid diet
Diet and eating after esophagectomy
Jejunostomy feeding tube


Rajaram R, Spicer JD, Dhupar R, Kim JY, Sepesi B, Hofstetter W. Esophagus. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 42.

Wilder FG, Yang SC. Management of esophageal cancer. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:54-65.


Review Date: 1/23/2023  

Reviewed By: Mary C. Mancini, MD, PhD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Shreveport, LA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo
Health Content Provider

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complied with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information from 1995 to 2022, after which HON (Health On the Net, a not-for-profit organization that promoted transparent and reliable health information online) was discontinued.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2024 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.