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Contact the Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center

  • 1-617-355-3038
  • International: +1-617-355-5209
  • Locations

At Boston Children's Hospital, we’re known for our science-driven approach. In fact, we’re home to the world's most extensive pediatric hospital research enterprise. We also partner with elite health care and biotech organizations around the globe.

Groundbreaking Treatment for Long-Gap Esophageal Atresia: The Foker Process

Until recently, esophageal atresia (EA) was a condition with no truly satisfactory treatment options. For a child with long-gap esophageal atresia, the gap between the two “nubs” of the esophagus is too far apart to connect surgically, even with transplanted tissue.

John Foker, MD, a pediatric surgeon from the University of Minnesota, knew that a fetus’ normal esophagus develops due to the tension placed on it by growing bones. To encourage this same tension-induced elongation for children with EA following a baby’s birth, he surgically attached traction sutures to the tiny esophageal ends and increased the tension on these sutures, bit by bit.

The Foker process is a revolutionary procedure that encourages natural growth and strengthening of a child’s existing esophagus, resulting in an esophagus that works so well that is it nearly indistinguishable from one that developed normally.

Bringing the Foker Process to Boston Children’s

After inventing this process, Foker was met with skepticism from his peers. Fortunately, Boston Children’s surgeon Russell Jennings, MD, emerged as one believer. In 2009, Jennings visited Foker in Minnesota to assist him in operations employing the Foker process.

Together with Bradley Linden, MD, Jennings established the EAT center at Boston Children’s, the world’s only center offering the Foker process.

To date, all of the patients treated with this method as an initial course of treatment are able to eat and swallow like other children.

Learn more about how the Foker process works.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment or speak with a member of our team, please call 617-355-3038.

International Patients

For families residing outside of the United States, please call Boston Children's International Health Services at +01-617-355-5209.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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