Achalasia is an esophageal motility disorder that is characterized by the severe retention of food in the esophagus. In patients with achalasia, the esophagus loses its ability to contract in a sequential manner and the lower esophageal sphincter fails to open completely, thereby preventing the normal flow of food into the stomach. Patients with achalasia feel that food gets stuck in their throat or chest and they may experience severe regurgitation and weight loss.
Achalasia results from the loss of nerve cells within the muscular wall of the esophagus. The reason for this nerve cell loss in unknown. Achalasia is treated by decreasing the lower esophageal sphincter pressure with oral medications, balloon dilation, injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) or surgery. Dr. Lambroza has counseled many patients on the appropriate treatment of their achalasia and has performed a large number of balloon dilations and Botox injections.
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