Pharyngoesophageal Dysfunctions: The Role of Cricopharyngeal Myotomy

Luigi Bonavina, Nazir A. Khan, Tom R. Demeester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eighteen patients were evaluated for primary symptoms of cervical dysphagia and/or laryngeal aspiration and subsequently had a cricopharyngeal myotomy. Twelve patients had a neurologic lesion as the cause of the symptoms. Four patients had a Zenker's diverticulum as demonstrated by barium contrast roentgenograms. Two patients complained of persistent suprasternal dysphagia following one or more antireflux repairs for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Esophageal manometry identified a pharyngoesophageal motor disorder in all but four patients, two of the four with Zenker's diverticulum and the two who had an antireflux procedure. The results show that cricopharyngeal myotomy should be reserved for patients with an identifiable motor disorder confined to the pharyngeal phase of swallowing, ie, failure of the pharyngeal pump or cricopharyngeal incoordination and/or incomplete relaxation. Exceptions to this rule are as follows: (1) Zenker's diverticulum, in which an abnormality may not always be detected but of which the results of surgery demonstrate the effectiveness of this procedure; and (2) pharyngoesophageal complaints associated with reflux, most of which resolve with the restoration of distal esophageal sphincter competence. In those few patients in whom these conditions persist, a cricopharyngeal myotomy may be beneficial. Caution should be used in applying the procedure to individuals who have had multiple antireflux repairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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