Heller Myotomy

Other Known Aliasesnone

DefinitionLigation of the external muscle fibers of the lower esophageal sphincter

Clinical Significance this type of surgery can be open, laparoscopically, or endoscopically and is used to treat achalasia by relieving the constriction of the lower esophageal sphincter and allowing food to pass into the stomach. This is often combined with a Nissen fundoplication to prevent reflux after.

HistoryNamed after Ernst Heller (1877-1964), who was a German surgeon and received his medical doctorate from the University of Leipzig. He would serve as a military surgeon during the first World War from 1914-1918 before returning to Leipzig as chief surgeon of Saint George County Hospital. He had a fairly prestigous career in academic surgery, publishing over 80 scientific papers during his career and culminating as Professor of Surgery at the University of Leipzig in 1949. It was in 1913, as an assistant professor to Erwin Payr, that he performed his eponymous procedure on 39yo man with achalasia. He would publish this case report in 1914 and followed this patient for 7 years tracking his progression and documenting his now disease free condition.


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