Cricopharyngeal myotomy may be effective treatment for selected patients with neurogenic oropharyngeal dysphagia

Dysphagia. Fall 1995;10(4):255-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00431418.


The role of cricopharyngeal (CP) myotomy in the management of neurogenic oropharyngeal dysphagia remains controversial. A review of the literature regarding outcomes of CP myotomy for dysphagia in the setting of a variety of neurological disorders indicates a preponderance of favorable results. There are several potential explanations for reported improvement after CP myotomy for neurogenic dysphagia, including the possibility that it is an effective treatment, at least for selected patients. If this is true, appropriate selection criteria for this treatment of neurogenic dysphagia may include (1) intact voluntary initiation of swallowing, (2) adequate propulsive force generated by the tongue and pharyngeal constrictors, (3) videofluorographic demonstration of obstruction to bolus flow at the CP segment (rather than merely retention in the pharyngeal recesses), (4) manometric evidence of relatively elevated CP pressure in relation to the pharynx, and (5) relatively favorable neurological prognosis. The effectiveness and safety of CP myotomy for patients with neurogenic dysphagia are unlikely to be resolved without a prospective, controlled multicenter study enrolling patients who meet such criteria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Oropharynx / physiopathology*
  • Pharyngeal Muscles / surgery*
  • Pharynx / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome