Achalasia is a failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve at the junction of the food pipe and the stomach) to relax. It is a rare disorder that makes it difficult for food and liquid to pass into the stomach. The reason for these problems is damage to the nerves in the oesophagus.
Heller myotomy helps 90% of achalasia patients. It can usually be performed by a keyhole approach or laparoscopically. The esophagus is made of several layers of muscles; the myotomy cuts only through the outside muscle layers which are squeezing it shut, leaving the inner muscosal layer intact. A partial fundoplication or “wrap” is generally added in order to prevent excessive reflux.