Intestinal bypass of the esophagus

John G. Raffensperger*, Susan R. Luck, Marleta Reynolds, Donna Schwarz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Esophageal replacement by a segment of isoperistatic ileum with cecum or by transverse or left colon will allow near-normal swallowing for many years. The authors reviewed the course of 59 children who had bypass of their entire esophagus and of four whose distal esophagus was resected and replaced. The follow-up period ranges from 1 to 37 years; in 36 cases, it exceeds 5 years. Thirty children had caustic strictures and 25 had either isolated esophageal atresia or atresia with fistula. Two children with esophageal injury caused by foreign body ingestion and two with congenital strictures also required complete bypass. Four patients required resection and replacement of the distal esophagus only; two had acquired strictures from gastroesophageal reflux, one had varices, and one had a teratoma involving the esophagus. A retrosternal isoperistaltic ileocolic segment is our preference for complete esophageal replacement. Forty-eight patients underwent esophageal reconstruction with this procedure. The esophagus damaged by caustic ingestion was left in place in all patients, without any subsequent problem. The authors have not used the distal esophagus for anastomosis in patients with atresia, because this segment may be abnormal; and, in any case, an isoperistaltic colagastric anastomosis does not reflux. The right or left colon or jejunum was used in the other cases. Three children lost an interposed intestinal segment from necrosis even though the bowel appeared to be well vascularized at the end of the operation. Each patient had successful reconstruction using another type of interposition. An intrathoracic leak occurred in one infant. A cervical anastomotic leak developed in 11 children, and a stricture in 13. Strictures were more common in patients who had caustic burns. Three patients required surgery for adhesive intestinal obstruction. A redundant colon transplant with ulceration, and the herniation of an ileal segment into the pleural cavity with obstruction prompted reoperation in two other patients. There were two deaths early in the series, one of which was secondary to postoperative respiratory arrest. The other death occurred in a child who had a caustic pharyngeal burn and chronic aspiration. All patients were seen in our office recently, or they or their parents were interviewed by phone. All of them are taking all of their nutrition by mouth. Forty-three of the 61 survivors have had no difficulty with swallowing. One required reoperation to enlarge the thoracic inlet. Seventeen others have mild dysphagic that does not require treatment. The patients with esophageal atresia or atresia and fistula consistently have not grown as well as those who required replacement for an acquired condition or injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • caustic stricture
  • colon interposition
  • esophageal atresia
  • Esophageal bypass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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