University of California-San Diego Medical Center surgeons have performed America's first incision-free myotomy through the mouth. The laparoscopic technique to treat Achalasia is called the Heller Myotomy, a two-hour procedure requiring up to six small incisions in the abdomen to divide the esophageal muscle. During this traditional procedure the surgeon cuts the muscles of the lower esophagus in order to let food and liquid pass to the stomach.
However, using a natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) approach means the entire procedure is performed through the mouth in less than 90 minutes.
Achalasia is a rare and progressive disorder of the esophagus that impairs the ability to swallow. It is characterized by abnormal enlargement of the esophagus, an inability of the esophagus to push food down toward the stomach and failure of the ring shaped muscle of the lower-esophagus to relax and allow food to pass into the stomach.