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You had a procedure called esophagectomy, which means that part or all of your esophagus was removed. After this type of surgery, it is common to have some problems eating for a few months. Here's what you can do at home to help with your recovery.
Follow the diet your doctor prescribed for you.
Choose foods that are soft and moist because they may be easier to digest.
Avoid foods that produce gas, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dried beans, lentils, onions, and peas.
Eat small, frequent meals (6 to 8 per day).
Eat your last meal or snack at least 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed.
Take small bites, and chew your food well.
Eat sweets at the end of your meal. Sweets are digested more quickly than other foods. Eating sweets first could lead to low blood sugar.
Sit up straight when you eat. This way, gravity can help food move through your digestive tract.
Continue to sit upright for 30 to 60 minutes after you eat.
Don’t use a straw, smoke, or chew gum. These activities make you swallow air, which can increase gas.
Drink most of your fluids between meals. Limit your fluid with meals to ½ cup (4 ounces).
When you eat snacks, limit fluids you drink with them to 1 cup (8 ounces).
Check your incision site daily for 1 week after discharge. Change the dressing according to the directions you were given.
Use pain medication as necessary.
Don't drive until you are off your pain medication and free of pain. This may take 2 to 4 weeks.
Plan frequent rest periods to avoid shortness of breath.
Perform deep breathing and controlled coughing exercises. Ask your healthcare provider for instructions.
Break the smoking habit.
Enroll in a stop-smoking program to increase your chances of success.
Ask your doctor about medications or other methods to help you quit.
Ask family members to quit smoking as well.
Don't allow smoking in your home or around you.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
Fever above 101°F
Signs of infection around the incision (redness, drainage, warmth, pain)
Shortness of breath without exertion
Nausea or vomiting
Note: If you ever have trouble breathing, call 911 (emergency) right away.
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