Achalasia care at Mayo Clinic

Your Mayo Clinic care team

Mayo Clinic's achalasia team includes doctors trained in digestive disorders, called gastroenterologists. Specialists in the Esophageal Clinic are frequently involved in care.

Having all of this expertise in a single place, focused on you, means that you're not just getting one opinion — care is discussed among the team, appointments are scheduled in coordination and highly specialized achalasia experts are all working together to determine what's best for you.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Achalasia can easily be mistaken for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Untreated achalasia can progress to end-stage disease, which might require removal of the esophagus. Specialists at Mayo Clinic are skilled in distinguishing achalasia from GERD and other digestive diseases. Mayo Clinic also offers high-resolution esophageal manometry to assess the severity of your achalasia and guide treatment decisions.

Achalasia diagnosis

Karthik Ravi, M.D., Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Mayo Clinic: Eating is a big part of our daily life. It's part of our social got together. And in achalasia, in some patients, that struggle to eat really erodes that, and it can have a huge impact on their quality of life.

Louis M. Wong Kee Song, M.D., Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Mayo Clinic: In achalasia, the nerves in the esophagus are damaged that results in loss of normal contractions.

Dr. Ravi: Instead of having that normal nice emptying with squeezing and the opening of that lower esophageal sphincter, that lower esophageal sphincter doesn't open and the esophagus doesn't squeeze in achalasia. And now things just kinda sit in the esophagus.

Dr. Wong Kee Song: From 1-3 individuals in a 100 thousand population will develop achalasia in one year.

Dr. Ravi: We see anywhere from a 100 to 200 people a year, which makes us one of the busiest centers for achalasia the world. Seeing a lot of the condition helps us kind of know the nuances and provide really expert care to the patient.

Dr. Wong Kee Song: We are able to provide a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive and coordinated approach to consultations with gastroenterology and thoracic surgery specialists.

Dr. Ravi: And then we have a newer treatment called peroral endoscopic myotomy or POEM, which is kind of a marriage between endoscopic approach and a surgical approach, where we go in with a scope through the mouth, but we kind of do the cutting from the inside out rather than the outside in like we would with the surgery.

Dr. Wong Kee Song: It is minimally invasive. Doesn't require any surgical scars. And the recovery from the procedure is very short. In over 90% of cases, there is drastic or significant improvement in symptoms to the point where the patient can lead a near normal life.

Dr. Ravi: The ability to eat is one of the most important things for their quality of life. And so being able to give that back to somebody is really kind of a very rewarding thing. And it certainly is very important to the patient.

Expertise and rankings


Treatments for achalasia — including pneumatic dilation, surgical myotomy and particularly POEM — should be performed in high-volume centers of excellence. Specialists in Mayo Clinic's Esophageal Clinic have experience performing these procedures, diagnosing and treating nearly 1000 people with achalasia every year.

Nationally recognized expertise

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, ranks No. 1 for digestive disorders in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, are ranked among the Best Hospitals for digestive disorders by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Minnesota, and the five-state region of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2023–2024 "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.

Learn more about Mayo Clinic's gastroenterology and hepatology department's expertise and rankings.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

Get the latest health information from Mayo Clinic delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe for free and receive your in-depth guide to digestive health, plus the latest on health innovations and news. You can unsubscribe at any time. Click here for an email preview.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

More information about billing and insurance:

Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota

Mayo Clinic Health System

May 15, 2024


Products & Services