Disorders of the esophagus affect millions of Americans each year. The esophagus is a hollow tube made of muscle which moves food and liquid from the mouth and throat to the stomach. The most common symptoms of esophageal disorders are difficulty swallowing, heartburn and regurgitation. Esophageal disorders may also affect the lungs, nose and throat. This can result in persistent coughing, a sore throat that won't go away, sinus problems, hoarseness, continuous throat clearing or asthma that is difficult to treat. Esophageal disorders can also cause chest pain that feels very much like a heart attack.
When left undiagnosed and untreated, disorders of the esophagus can have serious consequences. Lack of enough food and water for good health may result from difficulties with swallowing. Pneumonia or life-threatening choking can occur if what is swallowed enters the windpipe instead of the esophagus (aspiration). Some esophageal disorders even make cancer of the esophagus more likely.
One of only a handful of centers in the nation that offers an incisionless procedure to treat severe acid reflux disease. The surgery treats the underlying cause of GERD by repairing the body's natural barrier to reflux. This technique allows patients to recover more quickly, with less pain and swelling, compared to traditional or laparoscopic procedures.
Roughly 1 in 10 patients with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) will develop Barrett's esophagus. Persons with Barrett's esophagus may be at higher risk for developing cancer of the esophagus. Although the risk is relatively low, once Barrett's esophagus is identified the patient should discuss the treatment plan with their physician.