Achalasia is a condition that prevents the esophagus from effectively moving food towards the stomach, making it difficult to swallow. At GI Surgical Specialists, we offer laparoscopic and robotic Heller myotomy, a procedure that is considered the gold standard for surgical treatment of achalasia.
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Achalasia develops when the muscles of the valve between the esophagus and stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fail to relax properly. Usually, the condition results from damaged nerves in the esophagus, but cancers of the esophagus and stomach as well as parasitic infections can lead to similar symptoms.
Achalasia can cause a variety of symptoms like:
- Trouble swallowing solids and liquids
- Chest pain
- Unintended weight loss
Achalasia is typically diagnosed with esophageal manometry, a procedure that examines the pressure and motility of the esophagus. If you are suffering from achalasia, GI Surgical Specialists can help you find relief with laparoscopic Heller myotomy or the non-invasive POEM procedure.
What to Expect from a Heller Myotomy
Minimally Invasive Heller myotomy is performed using a surgical instrument called a laparoscope. This instrument is a long, flexible tube equipped with a camera and surgical tools that allow your surgeon to perform the operation entirely through a series of tiny incisions using a screen in the operating room. During the procedure, the muscle of the LES is cut to resolve the symptoms of achalasia.
Because Heller myotomy is performed under general anesthesia, you will be asleep and feel no pain during the procedure. Most patients will remain in the hospital for one night following the procedure. Heller myotomy has a high rate of success in permanently resolving achalasia and no other treatments are usually needed.