The methods of managing 32 patients sustaining caustic injuries to the esophagus are assessed. Treatment of these patients must be individualized according to the type of caustic ingested, the degree of burn and other clinical signs. While an aggressive approach is favored for second and third-degree burns in the form of early esophagogastrectomy with subsequent colon interposition, operation is not necessary in all patients, particularly those with first-degree burns. The use of antibiotics is recommended as soon as the diagnosis of esophageal injury is established. The efficacy of steroids in preventing stricture formation, especially with third-degree burns, is questioned.
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