THERE have been many reports in the recent literature concerning the ease and efficacy of cervical esophagostomy. Because of its low morbidity and ease when operating in the neck, many authors have described various surgical techniques and have stressed the advantages of cervical esophagostomy over nasogastric tubes or gastrostomy. Basically, there are two techniques of performing cervical esophagostomy. The esophageal mucosa may be sutured to the skin creating a permanent esophagostomy or secondly, a stab wound can be made into the esophagus and a tube then inserted to eventually form a fistulous tract from the skin to the esophageal lumen. The latter procedure is correctly called an esophagotomy and should be followed by prompt closure of the fistulous tract upon removal of the feeding tube.
It is somewhat surprising that so few complications of cervical esophagostomy have been described in view of the numerous cases reported. Ketcham and Smith1 reported