Advanced Treatments for Tracheoesophageal Fistula

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Contact the Esophageal Airway Treatment Center

  • 1-617-355-3038

Surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital have developed new, highly successful techniques for treating TEF and recurrent TEF that do not result in further recurrence. If your child has TEF without esophageal atresia, we can usually repair it in the first day or two of your baby's life in one short operation. This procedure has also been successful for those patients suffering from recurrent TEF. The procedure is customized to your child to ensure the best possible result. During this surgery, your child’s doctor will:

  • Make an incision in your child's chest.
  • Make a small incision in your child’s neck or back, depending on the location of the TEF.
  • Divide the fistula, closing the connection between the esophagus and the trachea.
  • Remove the pouch from the back of the trachea where the TEF originated. This is done with bronchoscopy, so that the surgeons can see the repair from the inside of the airway.
  • Repair the hole in the esophagus—often necessary to correct an area of narrowing in the esophagus that may be present.
  • Correct tracheaomalacia, if present, with a posterior tracheopexy. This is done with bronchoscopy to ensure a good result.
  • Rotate the esophagus away from the trachea so the TEF does not come back (TEF commonly reoccurs if this is not done).

If your child has long-gap esophageal atresia, meaning that the two disconnected ends of the esophagus are far apart, he or she will require a special treatment known as the Foker process. This highly successful procedure is only offered routinely here at Boston Children’s Hospital. Learn more about the Foker process.

If your child has TEF with EA, our doctors will:

  • Make an incision in your child’s chest
  • Make a small incision in your child’s neck or back – depending on the location of the TEF
  • Divide the fistula, closing the connection between the esophagus and the trachea
  • Remove the pouch from the back of the trachea where the TEF originated. This is done with bronchoscopy so that the surgeons can see the repair from the inside of the airway.
  • Repair the hole in the esophagus, often necessary to correct an area of narrowing in the esophagus that may be present
  • Correct tracheaomalacia, if present, with a posterior tracheopexy. This is done with bronchoscopy to ensure a good result.
  • Rotate the esophagus away from the trachea so the TEF does not come back (TEF commonly reoccurs if this is not done).
  • Connect the two ends of the esophagus together, if they are close enough together to do so. If this is not possible, our surgeons will discuss the best options to grow the esophagus long enough for the repair.

Children who undergo these surgical procedures usually do very well. To date, we have not seen a single recurrence of TEF after these procedures.

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

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

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