New Surgery for Achalasia Could Make it Easier to Swallow

March 23, 2013

Imagine one day having trouble swallowing your dinner. Then you start having to run to the bathroom during meals to vomit. Pretty soon, you can’t even keep down water.

That’s what happened to Marjorie McFadden, 91, of Livingston (Merced County), a healthy and lively woman who, as she said, had only been hospitalized before when she had her four boys.

She was eventually diagnosed with the rare disease achalasia, which occurs when a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus fails to relax and blocks food from entering the stomach. McFadden underwent an operation in September that only a handful of surgeons in the United States — including Dr. Homero Rivas, Stanford’s director of innovative surgery — are performing.

To learn more about the surgery, and to find out how McFadden fared, head here.

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