July 27, 2017

Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula (TEF) Repair

A trachea-esophageal fistula is a defect where a hole connects the windpipe (trachea) and the esophagus (“food tube”). This is dangerous because the hole in the esophageal wall allows acids from digestion to injure the trachea and lungs.

How is a trachea-esophageal fistula (TEF) fixed?

In order to fix the hole (fistula) between the trachea and esophagus, a portion of the esophagus or trachea is removed. The surgeon will then re-connect the remaining two halves together.

How do you know that there is fistula between my trachea and esophagus?

The tests that are used to visualize a stricture or hole in between the two structures are:

  • X-Ray
  • Barium swallow
  • CT scan data

Risks of TEF repair surgery

  • Bleeding
  • Damage to surrounding structures
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Leakage

Goals of TEF repair

  • Prevent corrosive acids and food from entering the windpipe
  • Protect trachea and lungs
  • Repair leakages