What You Need To Know About Dysphagia Surgery

Posted on: 19 December 2019

Dysphagia is a condition where the patient has difficulty swallowing liquids, food, or both. You might have trouble initiating the swallowing process, or the substance you're swallowing might feel like it's stuck in your throat or chest. Depending on the underlying causes of your dysphagia, your ENT may suggest that you have surgery to remedy whatever is preventing you from comfortably swallowing. Here's what you need to know if you or a loved one are facing dysphagia surgery.

Surgery Is Used to Treat Numerous Conditions That Contribute to Dysphagia

There are multiple conditions that dysphagia surgery can dramatically improve. Some of the most common conditions that can be remedied by surgery include:

  • Bony growths that impact the swallowing process
  • Esophagus muscles that refuse to function properly
  • An esophagus that's too narrow to permit the passage of foods and liquids
  • Blockages in the throat

The exact procedure suggested by your ENT depends on your specific condition. For example, if your esophagus is too narrow, your ENT may use an endoscope to insert a balloon into the esophagus. They'll then inflate the balloon to gently expand the width of your esophagus so that it's easier for you to swallow food and liquids.

Surgery Is Often Combined with Other Treatment Options

It's a misconception that surgery will automatically remedy all of your swallowing woes. While the procedure can repair or adjust a physiological issue that's impacting your ability to swallow, it isn't the most effective option for strengthening muscles that have weakened over time. 

To address weak muscles, your ENT may want you to try swallowing therapy after your surgery. This will help you strengthen the muscles that you use for swallowing so that you don't choke or feel discomfort when eating and drinking. 

Many Procedures Can be Performed with Laparoscopic Operations

Medical innovations have made it possible for many procedures used to remedy dysphagia to be performed with laparoscopic surgical techniques. Though laparoscopic surgery still requires recovery, these procedures are associated with less pain, a smaller incision, and a shorter healing period.

If you qualify for a laparoscopic procedure, your ENT may be able to make the incision in the chest or abdomen. Since the incision is smaller than those used for more invasive surgical procedures, you're less likely to suffer from an infection or another wound-related side effect. Smaller incisions are also associated with less blood loss and lower pain levels. The precise instruments used for a laparoscopic procedure are less likely to cause surgery-related trauma to the body.

For more information, contact an ENT surgeon in your area.