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Esophagus

ailments and treatments

Treatments and solutions designed to bring you relief.

Esophagus and Associated Diseases

Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery offers top of the line surgical solutions for GERD. Historically, most patients chose minimally invasive surgical treatments because medications failed to relieve acid reflux symptoms. While this is still a leading cause of seeking a surgical solution, other reasons are becoming more common.  These include the inconvenience and cost of taking daily medications, the side effects produced by medications, and the desire to actually stop the reflux (medications only treat the symptoms, not the disease).

Learn more about these common ailments:

Achalasia

Achalasia affects the esophagus. A ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter encircles the esophagus just above the entrance to the stomach. This sphincter muscle is normally contracted to close the esophagus. When the sphincter is closed, the contents of the stomach cannot flow back into the esophagus. Backward flow of stomach contents (reflux) can irritate and inflame the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn. The act of swallowing causes a wave of esophageal contraction called peristalsis. Peristalsis pushes food along the esophagus. Normally, peristalsis causes the esophageal sphincter to relax and allow food into the stomach. In achalasia, which means "failure to relax," the esophageal sphincter remains contracted. Normal peristalsis is interrupted and food cannot enter the stomach.

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a procedure where a flexible tube with a light and camera at the end, called an endoscope, is used to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine.

Bravo Ambulatory Ph Monitoring

Catheter-free monitoring

Bravo™ allows us to evaluate your heartburn symptoms to determine the frequency and amount of acid refluxing into your esophagus. Bravo™ is the world’s first catheter-free pH monitoring system that allows patients to maintain their regular diet and activities without the embarrassment and discomfort associated with traditional pH catheter systems.

High Resolution Manometry

Esophagus in HD

Esophageal manometry is done to see if the esophagus is contracting and relaxing properly. The test helps diagnose swallowing problems. During the test, the doctor can also check the Lower Esophageal Sphincter to see if it opens and closes properly.

Esophagram (Barium Swallow)

High Contrast Radiology

An Esophagram exam is completed in radiology where a contrast liquid is swallowed. We track the liquid through the esophagus and stomach where it can be observed to determine the function of these organs; specifically the ability to move food or fluid through effectively.

Laparoscopic Heller Myotomy

Long-term relief of Achalasia

This surgical procedure has become the treatment of choice and offers long-term symptomatic relief to those who suffer from Achalasia. The procedure weakens the muscles at the gastroesophageal junction, allowing the valve between the esophagus and stomach to remain open.

Pneumatic Dilation

Efficient and safe nonsurgical therapy

Pneumatic dilation is a nonsurgical therapy for achalasia.  It is an endoscopic procedure performed to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter by tearing its muscle fibers by generating radial force with a low-compliance balloon.

Endoscopic Botox Injection

Temporary relief of from achalasia

Botox injections can relax the spastic lower esophageal sphincter and provide some relief in patients with achalasia. The Botox injections produce satisfactory initial results that predictably wear off within a period of few months, necessitating further injections. Endoscopic Botox injection is a safe procedure but less effective than other treatment options.

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Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery - The Digestive Health Experts.