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Achalasia & Esophageal Disorders

Achalasia and Esophageal Motor Disorders

The esophagus is the long tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Achalasia occurs when the muscle in the lower esophagus fails to relax. This results in difficulty swallowing, chest pain and vomiting. In most cases, medical therapy is not effective and the benefits of stretching of the esophagus (endoscopic dilation) are short-lived.

Laparoscopic myotomy is an approach that has been effective in over 90% of patients. The procedure cuts the muscle along the length of the front of the esophagus. Side effects, however, includes a possible increase in the incidence of reflux. When this occurs, a partial fundoplication may also be required. This is a procedure in which the upper stomach is wrapped around the esophagus.

However, adding the fundoplication is associated with significant complications. It can also decrease the long-term benefits of the myotomy itself. Dr. Gharagozloo has pioneered the Robotic Lateral Heller Myotomy technique—without the need for fundoplication.

Using this minimally invasive, robotic-assisted technique, the muscle of the esophagus is cut along the left side of the esophagus instead of the front. This approach preserves the normal gastroesophageal valve, preventing reflux and the need for a fundoplication.

The Robotic Lateral Heller Myotomy procedure without fundoplication is associated with a 98% benefit for patients, with no reflux. It has proven to be superior to all previous procedures.

To learn more or to schedule a consultation with our Oncology and Thoracic Surgery Program clinical care coordinator, call (407) 303-4877.