The physicians at Johns Hopkins who treat achalasia are not only specialists in this swallowing disorder, they are well known for developing and using innovative procedures that provide relief from symptoms and a better quality of life for patients who are diagnosed with the disorder.
Because our physicians are recognized as being at the forefront of treatment, our patients benefit from their experience and advanced technology.
The goal of dilation therapy is to increase the size of the swallowing channel. Your doctor will often perform dilation therapy at the same time as an endoscopy.
Your doctor slowly inflates a balloon in your lower esophageal sphincter to stretch the muscles until they relax. This stretches the sphincter enough to allow food and liquid to pass through easily.
During this procedure, your surgeon cuts the sphincter muscle to force it to relax. Surgeons at Johns Hopkins are experienced at performing minimally invasive myotomies, using a laparoscopic procedure (use of a thin lighted tube called a laparoscope).
Your medical team may recommend an endoscopic myotomy called POEM as an effective and less invasive alternative to surgical myotomy, using an endoscope, a lighted tube that is threaded through your mouth and throat into your esophagus.
Neurotoxin Botulinum Toxin Injection
An injection of neurotoxin botulinum toxin into the lower esophageal sphincter is a safe and effective way to treat achalasia, particularly in older patients. It is not a permanent solution since the effects of the injection wear off in about a year and repeat treatment is necessary.