Surgical anatomy and physiology of swallowing

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Deglutition, the act of swallowing, is an extremely complex process involving approximately 50 pairs of muscles and nerves that are responsible for preparing and transferring food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. A problem with any of these structures can lead to dysphagia and a decrease in the quality of life in patients suffering from it. To successfully diagnose and treat dysphagia, a thorough understanding of deglutition is essential. The anatomy and physiology of the swallowing process is reviewed as it pertains to operative approach and technique.

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