The cricopharyngeus muscle is located within the throat near the beginning of the esophagus. This muscle prevents food from refluxing back into the oropharynx when swallowed. During the process of swallowing it relaxes, allowing for the passage of food from the mouth into the esophagus.
This muscle can become weakened or hypertrophied (enlarged) with age or due to other conditions resulting in difficulty swallowing and a feeling of a solid mass stuck within the throat.
There are several treatment options for this condition. The first would be to have a technique in which the area of restriction of the esophagus is dilated by the guidance of an endoscope. This is only a temporary repair and may be required to be done multiple times. Another possible treatment option offers a longer term solution. This is done by injecting botulinum toxin (Botox) into the cricopharyngeus muscle, resulting in moderate paralyzation of the hypertrophied muscle. This may have to be repeated every 4-6 months. Lastly, in the most severe of cases, the cricopharyngeus muscle may have to be surgically detached in order to relieve your symptoms. This will result in permanent relief of your symptoms but can be met with a host of other side effects such as regurgitation or reflux of food after it has been swallowed. We recommend that you consult an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to determine what will be the best treatment option for you.
AskTheDoctor.com wishes you a rapid recovery.
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