Contemporary outcomes of the Foker process and evolution of treatment algorithms for long-gap esophageal atresia

Wendy Jo Svetanoff, Benjamin Zendejas, Kayla Hernandez, Kathryn Davidson, Peter Ngo, Michael Manfredi, Thomas E. Hamilton, Russell Jennings, C. Jason Smithers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Esophageal growth using the Foker process (FP) for long-gap esophageal atresia (LGEA) has evolved over time. Methods: Contemporary LGEA patients treated from 2014–2020 were compared to historical controls (2005 to <2014). Results: 102 contemporary LGEA patients (type A 50%, B 18%, C 32%; 36% prior anastomotic attempt; 20 with esophagostomy) underwent either primary repair (n=23), jejunal interposition (JI; n = 14), or Foker process (FP; n = 65; 49 primary [p], 16 rescue [r]). The contemporary p-FP cohort experienced significantly fewer leaks on traction (4% vs 22%), bone fractures (2% vs 22%), anastomotic leak (12% vs 37%), and Foker failure (FP→JI; 0% vs 15%), when compared to historical p-FP patients (n = 27), all p ≤ 0.01. Patients who underwent a completely (n = 11) or partially (n = 11) minimally invasive FP experienced fewer median days paralyzed (0 vs 8 vs 17) and intubated (9 vs 15 vs 25) compared to open FP patients, respectively (all p ≤ 0.03), with equivalent leak rates (18% vs 9% vs 26%, p = 0.47). At one-year post-FP, most patients (62%) are predominantly orally fed. Conclusion: With continued experience and technical refinements, the Foker process has evolved with improved outcomes, less morbidity and maximal esophageal preservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2180-2191
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Esophageal atresia
  • Foker procedure
  • III
  • Level of Evidence
  • Long-gap esophageal atresia
  • Minimally invasive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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