Experience of rehabilitation for swallowing disorders after esophagectomy for esophageal cancer

Yasuhiro Tsubosa, Hiroshi Sato, Masayuki Nemoto, Makiko Ando, Tetsuya Tsuji

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3 Citations (Scopus)


We assessed the clinical experience and problem of rehabilitation in swallowing disorders following esophagectomy for thoracic esophageal cancer. Postoperative swallowing disorders were studied in 9 thoracic esophageal cancer patients who had undergone esophagectomy with lymph node dissection. Nine with actual or potential swallowing disorders underwent rehabilitation involving (1) anatomical and physiological assessment of organ-related swallowing, bolus movement, aspiration level, safe reclining angle and food safety using videofluorography: (2) repetition of direct and indirect training based on videofluorography assessment; (3) reassessment using videofluorography; and (4) repetition of (1) to (3) until dietetic self-help was possible. Five of the 9 undergoing rehabilitation had paralysis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, including 1 with paralysis of the bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerves. Eight of the 9 undergoing rehabilitation achieved dietetic self-help without severe aspiration pneumonia. Of these 8, mean rehabilitation took 9.6 days and postoperative hospitalization 25.3 days. Mean rehabilitation for the patient with bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis took 23 days, and postoperative hospitalization 96 days. Excluding the patient with paralysis of the bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerves, none suffered post-discharge aspiration pneumonia. It is possible that rehabilitation including complementary measures, such as appropriate reclining posture and selection of food consistencies, is effective in postoperative swallowing disorders for thoracic esophageal cancer. The patient who had paralysis of the bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerves required concomitantly greater care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-576
Number of pages6
JournalJapanese Journal of Gastroenterological Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Esophagectomy
  • Rehabilitation of swallowing
  • Swallowing disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology

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