Author(s): Tedesco P, Fisichella PM, Way LW, Patti MG
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Epiphrenic diverticula of the esophagus are often associated with a concomitant esophageal motor disorder, which is thought to be the cause of the diverticulum and some of the patient's symptoms. At one time diverticula were best removed via a left thoracotomy, but now the operation can be performed laparoscopically in most cases. We hypothesized that: (1) a motor disorder is the underlying cause of the diverticulum; and (2) optimal treatment consists of laparoscopic resection of the diverticulum, a Heller myotomy, and Dor fundoplication. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of a prospectively collected database from a university hospital tertiary care center. Between June 1994 and December 2002, we evaluated 21 patients with epiphrenic diverticula. An associated motility disorder of the esophagus was found in 81\% of patients (achalasia, 9\%; diffuse esophageal spasm, 24\%; nonspecific esophageal motility disorder, 24\%; nutcracker esophagus, 24\%). Seven (33\%) of these patients, all with esophageal dysmotility, were referred for treatment. The laparoscopic operation entailed resection of the diverticulum (using an endoscopic stapler), a Heller myotomy, and a Dor fundoplication. RESULTS: All operations were completed laparoscopically. The postoperative course of 6 patients was uneventful and they left the hospital after 72 +/- 21 hours. In 1 patient an acute paraesophageal hernia developed, which was repaired on the second postoperative day. Late follow-up (median 57 months) showed that all 7 patients were asymptomatic. CONCLUSIONS: These data support the conclusions that: (1) a primary esophageal motility disorder is the underlying cause of most epiphrenic diverticula; and (2) laparoscopic treatment is successful and should be the method of choice. The diverticular neck can be exposed satisfactorily from the abdomen; a stapler inserted from this angle is better orientated to transect the neck than one inserted through a thoracoscopic approach. Furthermore, the myotomy and fundoplication are much more easily performed from the abdomen than from alternative approaches.
This article was published in Am J Surg
and referenced in Journal of Medical Diagnostic Methods