Cricopharyngeal Myotomy - Voice and Swallowing Doctor - Sunil Verma MD

Cricopharyngeal myotomy is used to treat problems of swallowing. Cricopharyngeal myotomy can be performed either through the mouth, or via a small incision on the neck.

The cricopharyngeus muscle is located at the bottom of the throat and at the top of the esophagus. It is a sphincter like muscle which circles the entire esophagus. When overly active, the cricopharyngeus muscle may cause problems such as “lump in the throat” sensation, difficulty swallowing, or contribute to a Zenker’s Diverticulum.

Cutting of the cricopharyngeus muscle is very helpful in these conditions and is performed with the patient asleep in the operating room.

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.

Dr-Verma - Voice and Swallowing Doctor - Sunil Verma MD is an online resource for patients and physicians to learn more about common voice, swallowing, breathing and throat disorders. Throat complaints, from cough to cancer, are a common reason for patients to seek medical treatment. This website developed as a result of Dr. Sunil Verma's passions: that of education, patient care, and interest in technology.

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