Achalasia occurs when the food tube (esophagus) loses the ability to squeeze food down, and the muscular valve between the esophagus and stomach doesn’t fully relax. The reason for these problems is damage to the nerves in the esophagus. There is no cure, but Achalasia symptoms can usually be managed with minimally invasive (endoscopic) therapy or surgery.
The use of advanced laparoscopic techniques in the management of Achalasia has dramatically improved the treatment of the condition. Traditionally, surgery involved making a large incision through the chest and patients were often in the hospital for 1-2 weeks and had significant recovery issues because of pain from the incision. Now patients can undergo laparoscopic procedures that are less invasive and allow patients to be discharged the day following surgery and are back to work within days. More importantly, > 90 % of patients have excellent results and report no further dysphagia symptoms.



  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Atypical Chest Pain


  • Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy This procedure is used to visually examine your upper digestive system — your esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine (duodenum) — with a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube (Video-endoscopy). This test can also diagnose other conditions, such as peptic ulcer disease or pyloric stenosis, which can have symptoms similar to those of a hiatal hernia.
  • Digestive System X-Ray X-rays are taken after you drink a chalky liquid that coats and fills the inside lining of your digestive tract. The coating allows your doctor to see a silhouette of your esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine. You may also be asked to swallow a barium pill that can help diagnose a narrowing of the esophagus that may interfere with swallowing.
  • Esophageal Manometry This test measures the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow. A small tube is placed into the esophagus and attached to a monitor. You are then asked to swallow a small amount of water 10 times and the pressures within the esophagus are checked. Esophageal manometry also measures the coordination and force exerted by the muscles of your esophagus.


  • Achalsia is managed by performing a myotomy by cutting the lower esophageal sphincter which is causing obstruction of food as it passes from the esophagus to the stomach. This is called a Heller Myotomy.
  • Esophageal Diverticuli are managed by resecting the pouches that form in the wall of the esophagus.
  • “Jackhammer” Esophagus is usually managed with medicine. On rare occasions, the entire esophagus might be removed to address this condition.

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