JOURNAL ARTICLE
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The laparoscopic approach for epiphrenic diverticula with achalasia.

INTRODUCTION: Epiphrenic diverticulum (ED) is an uncommon disease that is invariably associated with an underlying oesophageal motility disorder such as achalasia. Management of ED should always be accompanied by treatment of the underlying motility disorder to prevent recurrence of symptoms. Traditionally, ED were approached via a left thoracotomy but as laparoscopy offers better access to the distal oesophagus, its use is becoming more widespread.

METHODS: A total of 72 patients with oesophageal achalasia underwent laparoscopic surgery at our centre over a period of 7 years. Five (6.9%) of these had associated symptomatic ED. These patients were treated with a laparoscopic transhiatal epiphrenic diverticulectomy using intraoperative oesophagoscopy guidance, combined with a Heller myotomy and Dor fundoplication. Patients were followed up regularly and symptoms were assessed at 12 months.

RESULTS: The median age of the five patients with associated symptomatic ED was 56 years (range: 38-69 years). Three were male. The mean duration of surgery was 150 minutes (range: 120-180 minutes). One patient (20%) developed a postoperative oesophageal leak. The mean follow-up duration was 25 months (range: 12-36 months). At 12 months, the mean Eckardt score reduced from 6.8 to 1.6. Three patients (60%) reported an excellent outcome, one (20%) reported a good outcome and one (20%) reported a fair outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Along with diverticulectomy, treating the underlying motility disorder with an adequate Heller myotomy and partial fundoplication is of prime importance for a good surgical outcome without symptom recurrence. Laparoscopy offers better access to the distal oesophagus than the conventional thoracic approach for ED.

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