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About the Program

Surgeons in the Massachusetts General Hospital Gastroesophageal Surgery (GES) Program in the Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery 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 innovative and minimally invasive 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 Centerin 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.

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Paraesophageal Hernia

A type of hiatal hernia where the stomach pushes through the diaphragm alongside the esophagus to lie in the chest.

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Leaders in Gastroesophageal Surgery

Mass General is consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our surgeons have achieved a number of landmark milestones in treating gastroesophageal conditions, and they are accustomed to seeing both local and international patients with various medical 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.

Easy Access for Patients & 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 are 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.

Procedures

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 (LINX)

A flexible band 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

Typically of an enlarged opening in the diaphragm (treatment for hiatal and paraesophageal hernias).

Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM)

Using a specialized 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.

Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF)

A minimally invasive procedure with no incisions in the abdomen to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

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Videos

Mass General’s GES Program offers advanced surgical options to treat the complete range of gastroesophageal conditions, including gastric and esophageal cancers and benign esophageal disease.