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Children, Treatment, Connection, Medicine, Nursing, Family, Hospital, Boston
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Esophageal atresia is a congenital digestive system disorder wherein the esophagus did not properly develop. There are different types of esophageal atresia. The most common type is when the upper esophagus does not connect with the lower esophagus and the stomach. Another type is the narrowing of the esophagus. If an infant suffers from this disease, since a portion of the esophagus is missing, the baby cannot swallow food or even his saliva.
The treatment for esophageal atresia is a surgery which will reconnect the two ends of the baby’s esophagus. Some patients however suffer from long-gap esophageal atresia which means that a large portion of the esophagus is missing; thus, it is difficult to connect both ends.
Dr. John Foker, a pediatric surgeon developed a treatment for esophageal atresia by stimulating the upper and lower ends of the esophagus to allow them to grow and connect the two ends. In the Foker technique, the surgeon places “small sutures in the disconnected or damaged ends of the esophagus and add small amounts of tension to those sutures every day.
Over time, the tension stimulates the ends of the esophagus to grow longer and closer together” (Boston Children's Hospital, 2011, par 2). When the ends become sufficiently close to each other, they are sewn together to make the esophagus whole. The procedure may take several weeks or months depending on how severe the case is. The Foker technique does not “require large incisions” because only “a small opening on the right side of the chest” is done; therefore, there are only few and small scars. Moreover, since no transplant is undertaken, the risk of infection, eating difficulties and malnutrition is reduced.
Boston Children's Hospital. (2011). Esophageal artesia. Retrieved from childrenshospital.org: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1775/mainpageS1775P0.html
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2013, March 22). Esophageal atresia. Retrieved from nlm.nih.gov: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000961.htm
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