UI Hospitals and Clinics

Esophageal Care Clinic

At UI Heart and Vascular Center we have the most experienced team working with diseases of the esophagus (the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach) in the state. Our surgical team takes care of many types of diseases from hernias to cancer to treatments for acid reflux.

We offer many minimally invasive surgery options, both with and without the Da Vinci robot. These include: 

Surgery for Acid Reflux Disease and Esophageal Disease

There are several options for anti-reflux surgery. In most cases, a less invasive approach is an option for patients with esophageal disease such as severe acid reflux, also called GERD, Barrett’s Esophagus, and hiatal (abdominal) hernias. Patients are often discharged the same day. UI thoracic surgeons have the most experience in the state dealing with esophageal issues and are trained in a number of approaches, including a procedure to treat GERD called Laparascopic Nissen Fundoplication. Our surgical team even offers a surgery that doesn’t have an incision, called Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF), or Endoluminal Fundoplication. Several tests are indicated to help determine if surgery is required for this condition:

  • Endoscopy with biopsies - to evaluate the inside tissue lining of the esophagus
  • Esophageal Manometry - to assess for motility or muscle disorders in the esophagus
  • 24 hour PH probe (off anti-reflux medications for 3 days before the test) - to evaluate the extent of period of time reflux occurs
  • Esophagram - to outline the anatomy of the esophagus
  • Fluoroscopy

Motility Disorders

Esophageal motor disorders include the failure of the esophagus to relax or to spasm. These include achalasia, a condition which causes problems swallowing food. When food arrives at the end of the esophagus, the muscular valve known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to relax to allow food into the stomach. To treat achalasia, muscle must be cut prevent it from blocking the passage of food. This procedure, which can be performed through a large incision or through several small incisions using laparoscopic instruments, is called a Heller Myotomy. Our surgeons offer both robotic and laparascopic procedures, which reduce recovery time significantly.


Removing the esophagus, also called transhiatal esophagectomy, may be done laparascopically. Length of stay is about one week and the UI complications rates are extremely low due to our surgical expertise and team approach.

Care Team

Physician, Surgery