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Esophagus

The esophagus takes food from the back of the mouth to the stomach. For most of its length, as it passes through the chest, its lining resembles skin so it relies upon saliva for lubrication. Over the years the esophagus gets a lot of work and is exposed to many corrosive substances such as stomach acid, enzymes and bile from below as well as anything swallowed from above. Ulcers of the lining of the esophagus may result from prolonged exposure to these substances.

The muscular wall of the esophagus has its own rhythmic action that actively squeezes food toward the stomach. This activity can be impaired (called dysmotility) and difficulty swallowing may result. Sometimes it is necessary to measure the motility of the esophagus by a test known as manometry. Achalasia is a disorder of the esophagus due to failure of motility. Long-standing reflux disease may lead to impaired motility.

Minimally invasive surgery is used to treat many disorders of the esophagus including GERD, achalasia and tumors.

 

 

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