The oesophagus or gullet is the muscular tube that conveys solid and liquid food matter from the pharynx to the stomach. It is about 23-26cm in length and tends to a median position as it course through the inferior part of the neck, the thorax and the superior part of the abdomen. It has a neural network in its walls that permits efficient peristaltic swallowing of food boluses and minimizes the potential for reflux.
Reflux of gastric contents is one of the most common disorders of the oesophagus; it may present with retrosternal chest pain and dysphagia. Dysphagia is also a common presenting symptom of oesophageal carcinoma.
Last reviewed 01/2018