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Reoperative Heller Myotomy: More Pain, Less Gain

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Heller myotomy provides durable and effective treatment of achalasia. Due to recurrence or persistence of symptoms, a small subset of patients seeks reoperation. This study was undertaken to determine if reoperative Heller myotomy provides salutary amelioration of symptoms. 609 patients undergoing laparoscopic Heller myotomy between 1992 to 2013 were prospectively followed; 38 underwent reoperative myotomy. Patients graded their symptom frequency and severity before and after myotomy on a Likert scale. Median data are reported. Patients undergoing reoperative myotomy, when compared to those undergoing their first myotomy, experienced a higher conversion rate to an “open” myotomy (8% vs 1%, P < 0.05) and a longer length of stay (3 vs 1 day, P < 0.05). Reoperative myotomy led to improvement in symptoms, but the magnitude of improvement in symptoms (e.g., dysphagia, choking, and coughing) was less than for patients undergoing their first myotomy (all P < 0.05). Patients undergoing reoperative Heller myotomy were less likely to report symptoms occurring once per month or less (83% vs 56%, P < 0.01). Patients undergoing reoperative myotomy note improvement in symptoms, although to a lesser extent than patients undergoing their first myotomy. Patients undergoing reoperative Heller myotomy can expect to experience less improvement of symptoms, denoting the importance of the first myotomy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2015

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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