In the traditional approach a cut is made on the skin and the cricopharyngeus muscle is identified. Using a knife the muscle is cut and the throat and upper esophageal sphincter relaxes. The cricopharyngeus muscle is close the recurrent laryngeal nerves. Thus a risk of this procedure is damage to this nerve, which may result in hoarseness.
Endoscopic cricopharyngeal myotomy is a minimally-invasive approach through the mouth. With the patient asleep a laryngoscope is placed through the mouth and positioned behind the voice box. The muscular cricopharygeal bulge is identified and a laser is used to cut this muscle.
Patients may be asked to not eat for a small period of time after surgery to allow proper healing to occur.