The esophagus and stomach play a critical role in a person’s day-to-day quality of life. I’ve always been fascinated with the physiology of these two organs as well as the effect operations on them can have, both positive and negative. When I was first starting out in my career in the ‘90s, it was the beginning of the minimally invasive surgical era. I thought this approach had the potential to make a really big impact on esophageal-gastric operations, which are some of the most intricate surgeries you can perform — and the most difficult for patients to recover from. I saw an opportunity to make these operations a whole lot easier on people, and I wanted to be a part of that. Since then, I have pioneered and introduced many advanced minimally invasive procedures and techniques in the Pacific Northwest. The challenge of continually improving outcomes and applying a minimally invasive approach to the most complex of surgeries excites me still.
There are two parts of patient care that are the most meaningful for me. The first is when people come in for an initial consultation and, during the course of our discussion, their anxiety and fear start to fade. They realize that they have a problem that is treatable and that they are in the right place to receive that treatment. The second part is when I see patients a few weeks or months after surgery and they’re healing, moving on to lead the productive lives that they’d always hoped for. While most of my energy is spent in between those interactions, formulating and then carrying out the right surgical treatment plan, those two moments in time make all the meticulous preparation and hard work worthwhile.
Area of clinical practice
Esophageal and gastric diseases
I am a board-certified surgeon who specializes in the treatment of esophageal and gastric diseases, including cancer. I have extensive expertise in using modern, minimally invasive surgical techniques, which can reduce recovery time and discomfort. My philosophy is to provide you and your family with patient-focused care and information about the most effective, least invasive surgical treatment options for your particular situation.
Throughout my career, I have been involved in a variety of research projects with the aim of improving esophageal and gastric surgery outcomes. In addition to providing care and conducting research, I am the chief of the division of general surgery and the director of the Center for Esophageal & Gastric Surgery at UW Medicine.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
University of Washington, General Surgery
University of Washington, Videoendoscopic Surgery
General Surgery, 2001, American Board of Surgery
Seattle Met's 2023 Top Doctors award
Dr. Oelschlager has received this peer-nominated award for exceptional patient care for multiple years.
Seattle magazine's 2021 Top Doctors Award
Dr. Oelschlager has been recognized as a Top Doctor in this peer-nominated award multiple years in a row.
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