Center for Minimally Invasive Esophageal Therapies

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Diseases & Conditions

Achalasia – Treatments

How is Achalasia Treated?

Achalasia can be treated surgically and non-surgically. Neither technique is able to completely cure the condition, but both have the ability to improve symptoms.

Drug therapy—specifically with nitrates and calcium channel blockers—is sometimes able to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscles enough to ease achalasia. Recent research has suggested that injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can also relax the LES by temporarily paralyzing the hyperactive cells that cause contraction.

Pneumatic (balloon) dilatation is another non-surgical treatment method. After you are given a local anesthetic, the surgeon inserts a special high-pressure balloon into the esophagus to stretch it. Although there is a risk of tearing, the procedure is successful 50 percent to 80 percent of the time.

Myotomy, or surgery, is the most effective long-term achalasia treatment. The surgeon directly cuts the muscle fibers in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which allows food to pass more easily into the stomach, correcting the condition.

There are three ways to perform a myotomy:

Drug therapy—specifically with nitrates and calcium channel blockers—is sometimes able to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscles enough to ease achalasia. Recent research has suggested that injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can also relax the LES by temporarily paralyzing the hyperactive cells that cause contraction.

What is achalasia, its symptoms and causes?
How is achalasia diagnosed?

Other Treatments
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Center for Minimally Invasive Esophageal Therapies
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Boston, MA 02118


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