Achalasia refers to the most common motility disorder of the esophagus.
People with the disorder find it difficult to swallow anything — solids or liquids — because the smooth muscle layer of the esophagus loses the ability to move food and liquids. Also, the lower esophageal sphincter fails to relax in response to swallowing.
People suffering from achalasia undergo a detailed preoperative evaluation to determine the underlying cause of the condition.
Doctors use a number of tests for this purpose:
The standard treatment for achalasia involves a minimally invasive surgical procedure called the Heller myotomy.
In a Heller myotomy, the surgeon makes small incisions in the external muscular tissues of the lower esophagus and stomach. The incisions reduce pressure, enabling food to pass more easily through the lower esophageal sphincter downward to the stomach.
You can return home as early as one to two days after surgery.
Your health information, right at your fingertips. Select MyUPMC to access your UPMC health information. For patients of UPMC-affiliated doctors in Central Pa, select UPMC Central Pa Portal. Patients of UPMC Cole should select the UPMC Cole Connect Patient Portal.