Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) for treating esophageal motility disorders
Pneumatic dilatation and Heller myotomy have been thoroughly studied as the most viable treatment options for achalasia. The pendulum, however, is shifting to the minimally invasive approach. Since Inoue et al. published the experience of the first 17 cases of peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) in 2010, there have been at least 5,000 cases performed worldwide and the number is increasing exponentially. Experts across the globe have been extending the indications to various esophageal motility disorders, to patients of extremes of age, sigmoidal esophagus and re-operated patients. There are a few variations in technique across different centers in defining the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) and adequacy of myotomy, the optimal length, site of myotomy and whether the full thickness of the muscle wall should be cut. Large case series demonstrated its promising efficacy & reasonable complication profile. Randomized controlled trial in comparison with the gold standard, Heller myotomy, is ongoing. The future application of submucosal tunnelling technique is thrilling with its extension in tumour resection, antropyloromyotomy and other natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES).