The esophagus is attached to the mouth at the upper end of the digestive system, and it is connected to the stomach at the other end.
The esophagus is around 10 inches, or 25 centimeters, long. A study of 197 adults showed that humans with an average height of 1.45 m to 1.83 m have a typical esophagus length of 23.42 cm give or take 2.02 cm. For men, it ranged from 24.16 cm, and one can again add or subtract 2.06 cm from that length. The length of the esophagus was calculated to be 22.46 cm for women, again with a variation of 1.99 cm either way.
Most surgeons hold the view that patients with reflux disease, and complicated Barrett's esophagus will have a shorter esophagus. However, recent studies have shown that it is not true. The esophageal length was shorter by 1 to 2 cm, but that is not conclusive evidence. So, the “short esophagus” does not actually exist.
The ten inch long esophagus has three parts. The first part is the cervical segment which extends from the cricoid cartilage to the thoracic inlet. The second is the thoracic part, which is seen from the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm. The last part is the abdominal part found underneath the diaphragm to the cardiac opening of the stomach.
The esophagus is a muscular tube that is lined with mucous membrane. The muscles and mucous membrane aid in the peristalsis, which serves to push the food down to the stomach. The muscles work in waves, and the mucous membrane secretes mucous to lubricate the tube. Peristalsis takes about 4 to 5 seconds to push one bolus of food down.
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