Minimally invasive surgery for achalasia: combined experience of two European centers.

Research paper by Alfredo A Garzi, Jean Stephan JS Valla, Francesco F Molinaro, Giovanna G Amato, Mario M Messina

Indexed on: 27 Apr '07Published on: 27 Apr '07Published in: Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition


The present report summarizes 12 cases with achalasia treated with laparoscopic Heller myotomy and anterior fundoplication according to the method of Thal and Dor.From 1997 to 2005 at 2 institutions in Europe, 12 patients (7 male and 5 female, ages ranging from 3.5 to 7 years) were treated for esophageal achalasia (EA) with laparoscopic Heller myotomy and anterior fundoplication according to Thal and Dor. In 1 case a perforation of the esophageal mucosa occurred, which was promptly treated during surgery. Follow-up ranged from 18 to 60 months and included clinical examination and barium radiography of the upper digestive tract.Postoperatively, 10 patients showed a normal weight curve and complete resolution of symptoms. All patients showed complete regression of digestive and respiratory symptoms from the first examination, with a normal oral meal intake and an improvement of weight and height parameters. One case required repeat intervention after 2 years because of persisting pain; in this case surgery revealed an insufficient myotomy.Modified extramucosal Heller cardiomyotomy associated with 180 degree anterior antireflux plastic surgery (according to Thal and Dor's procedures) is a useful and safe procedure in the treatment of EA in pediatric patients. Our data, which are supported by long-term follow-up, also stress the relevance of anterior fundoplication in preventing postoperative gastroesophageal reflux.

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