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World J Gastrointest Endosc. 2013 Sep 16;5(9):420-7. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v5.i9.420.

Per-oral endoscopic myotomy for achalasia: An American perspective.

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1
David Friedel, Rani Modayil, Shahzad Iqbal, James H Grendell, Stavros N Stavropoulos, Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY 11501, United States.

Abstract

Achalasia is an uncommon esophageal motility disorder characterized by the selective loss of enteric neurons leading to absence of peristalsis and impaired relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. Per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) is a novel modality for the treatment of achalasia performed by gastroenterologists and surgeons. It represents a natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) approach to Heller myotomy. POEM has the minimal invasiveness of an endoscopic procedure that can duplicate results of the surgical Heller myotomy. POEM is conceptually similar to a surgical myotomy without the inherent external incisions and post-operative care associated with surgery. Initial high success and low complications rates promise a great future for this technique. In fact, POEM has been successfully performed on patients with end-stage achalasia as an initial treatment reserving esophagectomy for those without good response. The volume of POEMs performed worldwide has grown exponentially. In fact, surgeons who have performed Heller myotomy have embraced POEM as the preferred intervention for achalasia. However, the niche of POEM remains to be defined and long term results are awaited. We describe our experience with POEM having performed the first POEM outside of Japan in 2009, the evolution of our technique, and give our perspective on its future.

KEYWORDS:

Achalasia; Heller myotomy; Minimally invasive surgery; Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery; Per-oral endoscopic myotomy

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