Gastroesophageal Surgery Program
Massachusetts General Hospital's Gastroesophageal Surgery Program offers advanced surgical options to treat the complete range of gastroesophageal conditions, including gastric and esophageal cancers and benign esophageal disease.
Our Gastroesophageal Surgeons
Surgeons in the Massachusetts General Hospital Gastroesophageal Surgery Program specialize in complex surgical techniques to treat gastric and esophageal cancers and benign esophageal disease. This specialization requires rigorous advanced training and a highly focused clinical practice dedicated to gastroesophageal disease management.
Our surgeons offer new and innovative procedures, such as magnetic sphincter augmentation (LINX® procedure) for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), endoscopic myotomy (POEM) for the treatment of achalasia, endoscopic approaches to Zenker’s diverticulum and minimally invasive esophagectomy for the treatment of esophageal cancer.
Multidisciplinary Gastroesophageal Care
Our surgeons work closely with physicians in the Swallowing and Heartburn Center in the Digestive Healthcare Center and the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers within the Mass General Cancer Center.
Members of the care team work collaboratively to provide comprehensive, personalized treatment for cancer patients and other patients with complex gastroesophageal conditions.
Conditions We Treat
Research demonstrates that high-volume surgical experience results in improved outcomes for patients. Each year, our surgeons perform high volumes of surgical procedures for conditions including:
- Achalasia: An esophageal disorder that makes swallowing difficult, often causing weight loss and other undesirable outcomes. It occurs when the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that normally functions as a valve fails to relax, preventing food from entering the stomach
- Esophageal cancer: Cancer that develops in the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach
- Esophageal diverticulum: A pouch of stretched tissue that branches out from the esophagus. The most common location for this condition is the cervical esophagus, referred to as Zenker’s diverticulum
- Gastric cancer: Stomach cancer, including hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) syndrome
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): A digestive disorder that is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs): Tumors of the gastrointestinal tract (including the esophagus, stomach and gastroesophageal junction)
- Hiatal hernia: A condition that occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm, resulting in retention of acid and other contents that can easily back up (reflux or regurgitate) into the esophagus
- Paraesophageal hernia: A type of hiatal hernia where the stomach pushes through the diaphragm alongside the esophagus to lie in the chest
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Our surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures that offer shorter recovery times, smaller surgical scars and preservation of the vagus nerve (a nerve that transmits messages from the brain to the stomach):
- Magnetic sphincter augmentation, commonly known as LINX: A flexible bracelet of magnetic titanium beads is placed around the esophagus to support the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that opens and closes to allow food to enter and stay in the stomach) by restoring the body’s natural barrier to reflux (treatment for GERD)
- Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery (treatment for GERD and hiatal hernias)
- Laparoscopic repair of an enlarged opening in the diaphragm (treatment for hiatal and paraesophageal hernias)
- Per oral endoscopic myotomy, commonly known as POEM: Using a specially designed endoscopic tool, a small slit is made in the inner lining of the esophagus to tunnel down to the sphincter muscle. The muscle fibers that block the passage of food are divided, and the slit in the esophagus is repaired (treatment for achalasia)
- Laparoscopic Heller myotomy: Small incisions are made in the abdomen to allow access to the esophageal sphincter muscle, where the muscle fibers that block the passage of food are divided (treatment for achalasia)
- Endoscopic, transoral treatment for Zenker’s diverticulum: A specialized instrument is passed through the mouth to divide the common wall between the Zenker's diverticulum and the esophagus, opening the diverticulum and splitting the muscle. This approach avoids a traditional neck incision
- Minimally invasive esophagectomy: The diseased esophageal tissue is removed, and part of the stomach is then used to reconstruct the gastrointestinal tract (treatment for esophageal cancer and some benign esophageal conditions)
- Laparoscopic procedures (for cancers and GIST tumors of the esophagus, stomach and gastroesophageal junction)
Complex, Open Procedures
Our surgeons perform complex procedures, including:
- D2 node dissection: Provides a more complete surgical sample of the lymph nodes to ensure thorough diagnosis of gastric cancer
- Partial and total gastrectomy: Surgical removal of part of or the entire stomach (treatment for gastric cancer)
- Complex repair of hiatal and paraesophageal hernias
Leaders in Gastroesophageal Surgery
Our surgeons have achieved a number of landmark milestones in treating gastroesophageal conditions. They are among the few in the country who can treat cancers of the stomach and esophagus in a completely minimally invasive manner. Our surgeons are accomplished researchers who are at the forefront of the latest surgical and medical innovations, sharing knowledge and expertise to more quickly develop procedures that can dramatically improve their patients’ quality of life.
Mass General surgeons were also among the first to perform antireflux surgery and repair hiatal hernias laparoscopically. Currently, we are employing new minimally invasive procedures to treat a number of conditions using natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery, more commonly known as NOTES. During these procedures, an endoscope is passed through a natural orifice of the body, where an internal incision is made to the stomach, bladder or colon. The technique avoids any external incisions or scars.
Easy Access for Patients and Referring Physicians
We pair patients and referring physicians with an experienced care coordinator who helps assess patient needs and coordinates all necessary appointments and tests.
All requests will be triaged the same day, and the patient and referring physician will be called back to schedule an appointment within one business day. Patients and referring physicians may request an appointment online or call
617-724-1020 to speak with our care coordinator.
Esophageal cancer is cancer that develops in the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus.
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the stomach from the chest.
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer that starts in any part of the stomach.
The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.
Massachusetts General Hospital introduces an innovative procedure for patients experiencing symptoms of GERD. A bracelet of magnetic beads can help the lower esophageal sphincter to resist gastric pressures and prevent reflux.
David Rattner, MD, chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal and General Surgery at the Mass General Digestive Healthcare Center, answers frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the LINX® Reflux Management System, a new treatment option for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The MGH was the first hospital in New England to offer a new procedure in which a flexible bracelet of magnetic titanium beads is laparoscopically implanted around the esophagus to help treat GERD.
The New England Journal of Medicine publishes the three-year results of a study of the safety and effectiveness of a new device for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The MGH offers its first per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) procedure, a new surgical treatment for achalasia.
Bob Hazelton lived with chronic acid reflux for years and was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2011. After his surgical team at Massachusetts General Hospital performed a minimally invasive esophagectomy, Bob has a healthy esophagus and is getting back to his active lifestyle.
LINX® Reflux Management System is an innovative minimally invasive procedure used by Massachusetts General Hospital surgeons to treat appropriately selected patients experiencing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For more information, visit massgeneral.org/LINX
Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) is a procedure performed by Massachusetts General Hospital surgeons using small incisions to remove a diseased esophagus and reconstruct the gastrointestinal tract. For more information, visit massgeneral.org/MIE
Gastroesophageal Surgery ProgramMassachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street, Blake 1570
Boston, MA 02114
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