Thoracoscopic esophagomyotomy for achalasia in the pediatric population: A retrospective cohort study

Eileen M. Duggan, Samuel Nurko, Charles J. Smithers, Leonel Rodriguez, Victor L. Fox, Steven J. Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Purpose: Achalasia is an extremely rare disease in children (0.1 per 100,000 individuals). Standard treatments for this include pneumatic dilation and esophagomyotomy. Minimally invasive esophagomyotomies have increasingly been used owing to improved postoperative pain and length of stay. We describe our experience with thoracoscopic esophagomyotomy in this population. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of all patients at our institution who underwent thoracoscopic esophagomyotomy for achalasia from 1995 to 2016. We used endoscopic guidance during all procedures. No fundoplication was performed. Results: Thirty-one patients were included in this study. Thirteen patients underwent pneumatic dilations prior to their operation with a median of 3 dilations. Two patients had a mucosal injury during the case. There were no conversions to an open procedure. Median length of stay was 2 days. After the procedure, 97% of patients had initial symptom relief. Eight patients (26%) required postoperative pneumatic dilations for recurrent symptoms; there was a greater chance of this (OR 8.5) if they had a preoperative dilation. No patients required a fundoplication for reflux postoperatively. Conclusions: Thoracoscopic esophagomyotomy is a safe and effective procedure for achalasia in the pediatric population. It should be considered as an alternative to the laparoscopic approach for these patients. Level of evidence: IV

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-576
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Achalasia
  • Pneumatic dilations
  • Thoracoscopic esophagomyotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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