Our team, through a variety of surgical therapies, treats benign esophageal diseases and esophageal cancer. Benign diseases of the esophagus that may require surgical treatment include achalasia, paraesophageal hernia, esophageal diverticulum, esophageal perforation and benign esophageal tumors such as leiomyoma.

David T. Cooke, thoracic surgeon, talking to a patient
David T. Cooke, thoracic surgeon, talking to a patient.

Patients with a non-functioning esophagus or esophageal cancer may require removal of their esophagus, also called Esophagectomy, and reestablishment of their intestinal continuity so the patient can again swallow food comfortably. Our surgeons decide the type of esophagectomy based on the disease process of the individual patient. Many of our therapies are performed using minimally invasive techniques such as video-assisted thoracic surgery or VATS and laparoscopic surgery.

In regards to esophageal cancer surgery, our surgeons and care providers work as a team in multidisciplinary collaboration as a part of the National Cancer Institute Designated UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, which employs a multidisciplinary approach, providing expert opinions from thoracic surgery, gastroenterology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, and medical oncology to best fight our patients’ cancers. Our patients may be eligible for UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center clinical trials that offer cutting edge and state of the art therapies.  Many of these clinical trials offer “personalized medicine” where molecular defects found in the tumors undergo specific “targeted therapy”.

Our surgeons, along with researchers from the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center collaborate with JAX West, A UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center research partner.  Through this innovative and ground breaking partnership, tumors are engrafted into specialized mice, creating a “co-clinical” approach that allows our scientists to safely test novel and potentially life-saving new cancer drugs, at no risk to patients.