Innovative Treatment Options Tailored to the Patient

The Hoag-USC Surgical Center for Digestive Disorders is a high-volume referral center for complex esophageal disorders. Hoag’s multidisciplinary team of esophageal experts works together to thoroughly review and determine the best treatment option suited to each individual patient. The team then carefully tailors a personalized treatment plan to effectively achieve the best possible outcome for the patient. This emphasis on a collaborative, comprehensive approach to patient-centered care is why Hoag patient outcomes rank are among the nation’s best.

When it comes to achalasia, there are several approaches that can be considered depending upon the severity of the condition. The most common treatment options include:

Heller Myotomy

Heller Myotomy (Laparoscopic Myotomy with Fundoplication) is a surgery performed to cut through one of the lower muscles in the esophagus, which renders the muscle incompetent. This procedure is considered the gold standard treatment as it relaxes the esophagus allowing food and liquids to pass through more easily. There are several approaches to this procedure, which can be used to treat a variety of swallowing disorders. The experts at Hoag-USC perform a large number of laparoscopic procedures, accompanied by a partial antireflux procedure known as a Dor partial fundoplication, which helps to reduce the incidence of postoperative GERD often associated with myotomy alone.

Esophageal Dilation

Esophageal dilation is non-surgical option that strives to gently stretch and expand the width of the esophagus. During this procedure, a physician uses an endoscope with a special balloon attached, or may pass a flexible tube, to stretch the esophagus (dilatation). The main difference between dilatation and surgery is durability. Dilatation often results in good short-term outcomes, but usually requires re-intervention to maintain its effect, whereas surgery is definitive. There is also a risk of perforating the esophagus during dilation which can require emergency surgery.

Botulinum Toxin

Another non-surgical treatment for achalasia is the endoscopic injection of botulinum toxin into the lower sphincter to weaken it. Treatment with botulinum toxin is safe, but the effects on the sphincter often last only for months, and additional injections with botulinum toxin may be necessary. In addition, repeated therapy can result in scarring that can make future surgery more complex.

Medication Therapy

Oral medications for achalasia generally include drugs called nitrates that help relax smooth muscle in the body. Although some patients with achalasia, particularly early in the disease, may experience some improvement of symptoms with medications, most do not. Since outcomes with medication therapy is generally ineffective, it is rarely used as the sole means of treatment.

The Most Advanced Treatment Options Are Now Available in Orange County!

When it comes to seeking out the most advanced academic-level gastroesophageal care, there is no longer any need to travel long distances. The Hoag-USC Surgical Center for Digestive Diseases offers the latest in state-of-the-art diagnosis and leading-edge treatment options that may not be readily available at other centers, including participation in clinical trials that helps to bring advanced gastroesophageal care to even more patients.

Perhaps the most distinguishing aspect of Hoag’s advanced treatment of gastroesophageal conditions is that in each and every case, treatment is always specifically tailored to the meet the unique needs of the individual patient.

Expert Care You Can Trust!

Hoag-USC Surgical Center for Digestive Diseases continues to lead the way in complex gastroesophageal care, providing access to a highly specialized surgical team that works collaboratively with Hoag-affiliated thoracic surgeons, gastroenterologists and medical oncology specialists to provide academic-level care. Hoag’s committed to accurate diagnosis, combined with progressive therapeutic options enables Hoag patients to achieve some of the highest clinical outcomes in the nation.

To schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, or a second-opinion consultation with a Hoag gastroesophageal expert, visit Meet the Team, or call us at: 888-566-9712.