Cricopharyngeal myotomy is a surgical procedure that might be indicated to patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia that, in general, are characterized by a motor impairment limited to the pharyngeal phase of swallowing, cricopharyngeal incoordination or incomplete relaxation of the Upper Esophageal Sphincter (UES). Indication of the myotomy, however, have been discussed and applied in many cases, with no effect on the improvement of deglutition dynamics. The aim of this study was to verify the criteria of indication and efficacy of cricopharingeal myotomy, based on studies of deglutition physiology in patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia. A literature review about this procedure and the description of its results on deglutition dynamics was carried out. Results showed that the best indicators of a well-succeeded myotomy are: efficient oral phase and good laryngeal elevation during deglutition. Therefore, an adequate indication of cricopharyngeal myotomy must consider not only the pharyngeal phase and the isolated functioning of the UES, but also the coordination and the relationship between the oral and the pharyngeal phases of deglutition.
Keywords: Pharyngeal muscles/surgery; Cricoid cartilage/surgery; Esophageal sphincter, upper/physiology; Pharyngeal muscles/physiology