Surgery for achalasia: 1998

Y Shiino, C J Filipi, Z T Awad, T Tomonaga, R E Marsh
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 1999, 3 (5): 447-55
Technical controversies abound regarding the surgical treatment of achalasia. To determine the value of a concomitant antireflux procedure, the best antireflux procedure, the correct length for gastric myotomy, the optimal surgical approach (thoracic or abdominal), and the equivalency of minimally invasive surgery, a literature review was carried out. The review is based on 23 articles on open transabdominal or transthoracic myotomy, 14 articles on laparoscopic myotomy, and four articles on thoracoscopic myotomy. Postoperative results of traditional open thoracic or transabdominal myotomy as determined by symptomatology were better with fundoplication than without fundoplication. The incidence of postoperative reflux as proved by pH monitoring was high in patients who had an open transabdominal myotomy without fundoplication. The type of antireflux procedure used and the length of gastric myotomy had little effect on results. The results of transthoracic Heller myotomy do not require a concomitant fundoplication. Laparoscopic and thoracoscopic myotomy had excellent results at short-term follow-up. A fundoplication must be added if the myotomy is performed transabdominally. A randomized prospective study is required to determine the best fundoplication and the extent of gastric myotomy. Although minimally invasive surgery for achalasia has excellent initial results, longer follow-up in a larger population of patients is needed.

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