Swallowing Disorder Surgery
WHAT IS HELLER MYOTOMY?
The swallowing reflex is something that every animal is born with. However, some children and adults find it extremely difficult to swallow. It can be extremely painful to swallow liquids, semi-liquids and solid foods.
Usually, this difficulty in swallowing is a by-product of other health conditions like allergy-induced swollen esophagus, Parkinson’s disease, etc. Difficulties in swallowing can occur in children and adults alike. Two of the most commonly occurring problems related to swallowing are:
Dysphagia refers to a class of swallowing-related conditions which can occur as a result of another health condition or due to genetic conditions.
Dysphagia occurs when the tongue is too weak or the nerves in the mouth and throat do not function correctly or when there is some form of blockage in the esophagus.
Achalasia is a condition that affects the esophagus. A ring of muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is responsible for the movement of the food from the esophagus to the stomach.
When a person swallows food, the LES opens and allows the food to pass through to the stomach. However, if the person has achalasia, the LES fails to open, creating a blockage in the esophagus and creating extreme difficulty in swallowing.
WHEN WOULD I NEED SURGICAL INTERVENTION?
In extreme cases, both dysphagia and achalasia require surgical treatment. This operation, which is done in order to surgically correct the problems causing blockages in the esophagus is called the Heller Myotomy.
If you have been told you have the swallowing disorder called dysphagia or achalasia, your doctor may suggest surgery. The goal of surgery is to help food and liquids reach your stomach without pain of difficulty.
SCHEDULING A SURGERY
At NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions, renowned doctor Dr. Val Prokurat and his team of specialists are experienced in performing the Heller Myotomy. You can schedule the consultation with Dr. Prokurat either by calling us or filling out the form provided. One of our office staff will get back to you as quickly as possible.
HOW IS THE HELLER MYOTOMY PERFORMED?
The minimally invasive Heller myotomy procedure starts with a consult, where Dr. Prokurat will review your medical requirements to identify if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Once you are given the go-ahead, you will be asked to stop consuming any solids or semi-solid foods at least 3-4 days before the surgery. The doctor will prescribe an almost-100% liquid diet to you. This is done to avoid unnecessarily blocking your esophagus before the surgery.
WILL ANESTHESIA BE USED?
On the day of the surgery, the doctor will sedate you using general anesthesia and then proceed to do the surgery. Dr. Prokurat will make a small incision on the outer muscular wall of the lower part of the esophagus and extend this incision to the upper part of the stomach. This essentially creates a gateway for the food to pass through the esophagus, where the lower esophageal sphincter experiences severe contractions or closes.
WILL I HAVE UNSIGHTLY SCARS?
The Heller Myotomy involves just this small incision. Scaring is generally virtually impossible to notice. However, typically, surgeons also perform the Fundoplication surgery, a.k.a., acid reflux surgery, to prevent the gastrointestinal acids from flowing into the esophagus from the stomach and damaging it extensively.
Surgery can be performed using open surgery (through a large incision) or minimally invasive surgery (through a few small incisions) either using traditional laparoscopy or da Vinci® Surgery. In the conventional Heller myotomy operation, the surgery involves an incision that measures 5-6 inches long. But today, you have the option of choosing the laparoscopic surgical technique which involves performing the surgery through a tiny incision into which a telescopic video probe and telescopic instruments are inserted. The latter ensures there is very minute scarring of the esophageal muscle and the skin, plus, very little strain on the esophageal wall.
BENEFITS OF DA VINCI® SURGICAL SYSTEM
At NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions, Dr. Prokurat and his team use the specialized da Vinci® Surgical System to perform the laparoscopic surgery. This laparoscopic technology is superior to many others available and offers doctors a great degree of control when conducting the procedure. The da Vinci® Surgical System also allows doctors to gain the highest level of accuracy when locating and treating the damaged part of the body. If you would like to schedule a consultation and find out if surgery is the right treatment option for you, please give us a call or fill out the form provided and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
IS THERE ANY HOSPITAL TIME?
The da Vinci® Heller Myotomy ensures a very short hospital stay. Patients can leave the treatment center within 3 days.
POST-SURGERY CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Post-surgical care involves adhering to a diet of soft foods for the first month after the surgery and consuming mostly liquids. This gives your esophagus enough time to heal. Carbonated and caffeinated beverages should be avoided. Liquids should be limited to a half-cup with meals and a cup with snacks, to avoid stretching the stomach too quickly.
Many patients have reported a high success rate for the operation with results usually being permanent. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Prokurat. You can also fill out the form provided and one of our office staff will contact you shortly.