Background: Per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) has evolved as a novel therapeutic option for the treatment of esophageal motility disorders such as achalasia. The originally described dissection technique involves cutting the inner circular esophageal muscle fibers in an antegrade fashion. We have modified this technique by commencing the muscular division at the most distal aspect of the submucosal tunnel and continuing the dissection in a retrograde fashion. We present our initial series of patients performed using this modified technique.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our prospectively collected database. Peri- and postoperative data were collected and analyzed. POEM procedures were performed in a near-identical manner as previously published.
Results: Retrograde myotomy was performed on five patients with a diagnosis of achalasia. Four had a history of prior treatment including balloon dilation, with one of these having a prior surgical myotomy. Retrograde POEM procedures were performed with trace blood loss and without any complications. Mean operative time was 85 min. All patients had normal esophagram studies, and diets were advanced as per protocol.
Conclusion: POEM was developed as a minimally invasive method for the treatment of achalasia. Our retrograde dissection modification allows the most critical portion of the case, namely division of the lower esophageal and upper gastric circular muscle fibers, to be performed earlier in the case. This ensures adequate dissection of the primary site of esophageal dysfunction should problems arise during the procedure. The modification is straightforward, without the need for additional training or equipment, and appears to provide a more rapid myotomy with less charring in this small cohort of patients.
- Per oral endoscopic myotomy
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