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The foregut is comprised of the esophagus, the stomach and the upper small intestines. Foregut surgery is focused primarily on gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD. While the incidence of stomach cancer is decreasing worldwide, the incidence of gastric cancer resulting from reflux is increasing exponentially, with 15% of the people in the United States experiencing reflux. White Plains Hospital offers surgical and non-surgical options to treat GERD.

Common conditions treated

Esophageal motility disorders

An esophageal motility disorder occurs when the muscles of the esophagus, the tube that moves food and drink from the mouth to the stomach, fail to work properly. The result is that it becomes difficult to swallow and food can back up in your throat.

Reflux disease

Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that occurs when stomach acid or bile refluxes, or flows back, to the esophagus, irritating the lining and causing often intense heartburn and discomfort. While many people experience some form of heartburn occasionally, persistent or recurring symptoms may indicate a more serious condition like GERD.


Dysplasia refers to a condition in which normal esophageal cells change to intestine-like cells and lose their elasticity. Without treatment, high-grade dysplasia can often progress to cancer.


Achalasia is an esophageal motility disorder where the nerves in the esophagus deteriorate, preventing the valve at the bottom of the esophagus from opening properly. This prevents food from entering the stomach.


Esophagitis refers to the inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, the tube that moves food and drink from the mouth to the stomach. If untreated, this condition can be quite uncomfortable and can lead to problems with swallowing.

Hiatal hernia

In a hiatal hernia, the stomach is forced up through the diaphragm and can often cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For more information on GERD, see "Reflux Disease." A paraesophageal hernia can result in the stomach becoming obstructed, with its blood supply cut off.

Benign and malignant disorders

Benign tumors in the stomach and small intestine, though rare, can become malignant. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential.

Diagnosis & treatment

The multidisciplinary approach to treatment begins with the internist recognizing the problem. The gastroenterologist may then perform an endoscopy on the patient. The results of the endoscopy might lead to surgery, an oncology consultation, or a non-surgical solution. An ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist, a laryngologist, a pulmonologist and a thoracic surgeon may also be involved in the diagnosis and treatment.

Surgical options may include open surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery involving small incisions and endoscopic treatment options.