Achalasia is an esophageal motility disorder characterized by incomplete relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and aperistalsis of the esophageal body. Treatment of achalasia is aimed at decreasing the resting pressure in the LES. Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM), derived from natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) and advances in endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), presents a novel, minimally invasive, and curative endoscopic treatment for achalasia. POEM involves an esophageal mucosal incision followed by creation of a submucosal tunnel crossing the esophagogastric junction and myotomy before closure of the mucosal incision. Although the procedure is technically demanding and requires a certain degree of skill and competency, treatment success is high (90%) with low complication rates. Since the first described POEM in humans in 2010, it has been used increasingly at centers worldwide. This article reviews available published clinical studies demonstrating POEM efficacy and safety in order to present a proposal on how to establish a dedicated POEM program and reach base proficiency for the procedure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Natural orifice endoscopic surgery
- Peroral endoscopic myotomy