Swallowing is a critical body function. When conditions like achalasia prevent you from swallowing and other treatments don’t restore your function, you might need per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) surgery to correct the problem. At the Center for Advanced Surgery in Dallas, Plano, and Tyler, Texas, board-certified gastroesophageal surgeons Marc Ward, MD, and Steven Leeds, MD, offer minimally invasive, incisionless POEM to help you swallow and eat normally. Call the practice or schedule a consultation online today to find out if POEM is the right treatment for you.
POEM is a minimally invasive procedure to treat achalasia and similar swallowing disorders. Instead of making an incision in your abdomen or throat to reach your esophagus, the team uses endoscopy to access your esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter.
An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera on its tip. Your doctor carefully inserts the endoscope into your esophagus, and it sends images from inside your body to a screen in the treatment room. It allows your doctor to examine your esophagus without making any incisions.
Your doctor might recommend POEM if you have trouble swallowing because of a condition like achalasia. Achalasia occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t relax enough to allow food to move from your esophagus to your stomach.
Some of the common signs of achalasia and other swallowing disorders caused by tight or spasming esophageal muscles include:
POEM is an excellent treatment option to open tight esophageal muscles. It’s minimally invasive, with little risk of complications.
Your doctor provides personalized preparation instructions at your pre-surgical consultation. In general, you follow a liquid diet for two days before your POEM procedure. Then you fast — consuming no food or liquid — for 12 hours before your procedure.
During the POEM procedure, your doctor carefully sends an endoscope into your esophagus and down to your lower esophageal sphincter. They tunnel the endoscope into the lining of your esophagus that covers the tight or spasming muscles.
Using a special endoscopic device, your doctor makes small incisions in the tight muscles, allowing them to relax and loosen. They complete the procedure by placing clips on the tiny cuts to keep them open and your muscles relaxed.
Your doctor might recommend that you stay overnight for observation. You won’t be able to eat anything until you have a barium X-ray that shows that your esophagus has regained normal function and that swallowing is safe.
You have a follow-up appointment approximately 10 days after your POEM procedure for your doctor to ensure that your esophagus is open and functional. In short, this innovative treatment can help you eat again.
If you have pain or trouble swallowing food, call the Center for Advanced Surgery or make an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and innovative treatments like POEM to restore your health.