Achalasia & Swallowing

At Minimally Invasive and Bariatrics Surgery, Dr. Bello and our expert medical staff have years of experience in treating patients suffering from difficulty swallowing and achalasia. Our treatment methods have been developed over time through our own experience and with the help of progressive medical research and literature. We have the technology to test your swallowing problems and can offer the latest, state-of-the-art medical and surgical treatment options to correct your problem.

¿What is Achalasia and Swallowing?

Achalasia is a rare, progressively degenerative disorder of the lower esophageal muscles. The severity of achalasia varies in each individual patient. In patients suffering from achalasia, the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter—the ring of muscles between the lower esophagus and stomach—is absent. This means food cannot pass into the stomach. The patient will experience severe difficulty when swallowing food because the passage to the stomach is blocked.

¿What are the symptoms of Achalasia and Swallowing?

The most common symptom of achalasia is difficulty swallowing—also known as dysphasia. Patients who suffer from achalasia often describe the sensation as food “sticking” in their chest after swallowing. This is a constant condition—after every drink or meal, the patient will experience this “sticking” sensation. Additional symptoms of achalasia include pain in the chest and heart, regurgitation of food trapped within the esophagus, and infections in the trachea. Achalasia is a very serious condition. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation as soon as possible.

¿What are the Medical Complications Associated with Achalasia?

Medical complications most often seen with achalasia are weight loss and aspiration pneumonia. Pneumonia occurs when inflammation of the esophagus is allowed to progress to an infection within the esophagus. Additionally, esophageal ulcerations may begin to form and there is an increased occurrence of esophageal cancer.

¿What Causes Achalasia?

Achalasia is caused by the inflammation of the nerves and the muscles within the esophagus. As achalasia progresses, the muscle cells in the esophagus begin to degenerate. The result is an esophageal sphincter which cannot relax and open.

¿How is Achalasia Diagnosed?

Achalasia is diagnosed by medical professionals on the basis of patient history. Most patients who suffer from achalasia describe a progressive degeneration of their throat and an increased number of occasions where they cannot swallow. If a patient is suspected to have achalasia, a diagnosis will be made with an esophageal manometry—a special test performed in the office to check pressures of your esophagus—aided by x-ray and endoscopic examinations.

¿What are the Treatment Options for Achalasia?

Luckily for patients suffering from achalasia, there are a variety of treatment options. The surgical procedure used to treat achalasia is called an esophagomyotomy. The procedure is performed by cutting the esophageal sphincter muscle. The operation boasts an impressive rate of success and normally gives patients permanent results. It can be performed by minimally invasive techniques.

¿Are there other problems that can cause difficulty Swallowing?

Yes, Indeed. At MIB Surgery we are experts at identifying the cause of the swallowing difficulty which can be related to a problem of the function of the esophagus and other mechanical causes.