Esophageal Atresia Treatment Program Overview

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Contact the Esophageal Atresia Treatment Program

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

The Esophageal Atresia Treatment Program (EAT Program) at Boston Children's Hospital cares for infants, children and young adults with esophageal and airway problems. The team specializes in:

John Foker, MD, PhD, a pediatric, general and cardiac surgeon from the University of Minnesota, developed a technique to stimulate growth of the upper and lower ends of the esophagus to treat cases of long-gap EA. Since then Foker has worked exclusively with the Boston Children's team to ensure that his surgical technique continues to help young patients with esophageal concerns. Boston Children's is the only pediatric hospital in the world that regularly offers the Foker process to treat long-gap EA.

Foker is currently the scientific director of the EAT Program and a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The Foker process involves placing traction sutures in the tiny esophageal ends and increasing tension on these sutures daily, pulling on them slightly until the ends of the esophagus grow close enough to be sewn together. In the hands of our experienced team this technique has generally worked well for children with esophageal atresia without prior chest surgery. Children who have had other surgeries attempting to repair their long-gap EA often have additional complications and are more difficult to treat.

Our techniques may sound complicated, but our work is simple: use the most effective surgical approach available to help children born with an incomplete or blocked esophagus to eventually be able to eat by mouth. Depending on the severity of your child's condition, the treatment options available may sound complex and even overwhelming. As with any major medical procedure, before you decide which type of treatment is right for your child, it’s recommended you speak with a medical professional who can clearly explain all the treatment options for you. For further details about how long-gap EA is treated at Boston Children's, we invite you to call 617-355-3529 and speak with one of our experts.  

Related Conditions


Specialists within the EAT Program also care for children with:

We offer new and innovative treatments with a multidisciplinary approach to care, both for patients in the hospital and those receiving long-term treatment through our multidisciplinary outpatient clinic.


The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944