Esophageal function in weight loss surgery

 

This is an article I wrote for the NYU weight management program newsletter a couple of years ago: I updated it a little.

We have only one esophagus so we have to be really good to it. The esophagus has one job- to squeeze whatever we swallow down to our stomach. The esophagus is a muscular tube which is important to remember. A muscle when used repetitively or when stress is placed on it, can fatigue. So what does that mean? Let’s look at a muscle that we can control like our bicep. We lift a 5 lb weight and after 20-30 repetitions, our bicep gets tired or worn out (I know for some of you superfit people, it may be 50 repsJ). This is important to remember for life with the gastric sleeve and gastric band especially after the band is adjusted.

Another fun fact about our esophagus? The esophagus is more constricted in the morning which means it feels tighter! It also means that the esophagus is “generating a higher pressure” or squeezing more first thing in the morning. Do you feel tighter in the mornings? Can’t get that coffee down first thing? Well that’s normal it turns out! When the esophagus squeezes so hard, it gives you the feeling of something being stuck or of chest pain in the middle of your chest. This has a lot of correlation for patients with gast