Endoscopic cricopharyngeal myotomy: indications and technique

Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Dec;14(6):437-41. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e3280106314.


Purpose of review: Cricopharyngeal muscle myotomy to treat swallowing disorders has a definite role in the management of cervical dysphagia. Several reports emphasize the benefits of the endoscopic approach compared with the transcervical technique. This review examines recent surgical management of cricopharyngeus dysmotility.

Recent findings: Several investigations have provided pertinent information on selecting patients for cricopharyngeal myotomy. Manofluorography appears to be more accurate in detecting intrabolus pressure anomalies during swallowing. Isolated cricopharyngeus dyscoordination, however, is not easily identified using this method. Electromyographic activity of the inferior pharyngeal constrictor and cricopharyngeus recorded by transcutaneous electrodes at rest and during deglutition has shown different dysfunction patterns. Ambulatory 24 h double probe pH monitoring and the triple sensor combination pH test demonstrate clinical correlation between pH results and symptoms in patients suffering from dysphagia related to laryngopharyngeal reflux. Transoral cricopharyngeal myotomy for the treatment of cricopharyngeus dysmotility is now established as a safe and effective method. The development of new devices has enhanced the procedure's efficacy and the overall success rate without major complications.

Summary: Diagnosis of cricopharyngeus dysfunction is based on anamnesis and videoradiograph findings. In doubtful cases manofluorography and electromyography should be performed. Endoscopic cricopharyngeal myotomy is a safe and effective treatment option for patients with cricopharyngeus dysphasia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Deglutition Disorders / surgery*
  • Endoscopy*
  • Esophageal Sphincter, Upper / physiopathology*
  • Esophageal Sphincter, Upper / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Patient Selection