Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Perforated Esophagus Anatomy

To better understand esophageal perforation, it helps to understand the anatomy of the esophagus.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that propels food from the mouth, to the stomach. It begins in the pharynx, just below the base of the tongue, and passes through the chest, next to the spine. It then passes through the diaphragm before emptying into the stomach.

The bottom of the esophagus opens during swallowing, and then closes after the food has entered the stomach. This prevents food from leaking back into the esophagus.

Anatomy examples:

  • Junction of esophagus and stomach
  • Entire intestinal tract

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Perforated Esophagus References
  1. Butler KH, Swencki SA. Chest pain: a clinical assessment. Radiol Clin North Am. 2006 Mar;44(2):165-79, vii. [16500201]
  2. Khan AZ, Strauss D, Mason RC. Boerhaave's syndrome: diagnosis and surgical management. Surgeon. 2007 Feb;5(1):39-44. [17313127]
  3. Wu JT, Mattox KL, Wall MJ Jr. Esophageal perforations: new perspectives and treatment paradigms. J Trauma. 2007 Nov;63(5):1173-84. Review. [17993968]
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