Procedures / Dilatation


Oesophageal dilation is a technique that allows your physician to dilate a narrowed area of your oesophagus. It can be a part of an endoscopic evaluation or alternatively, your physician might first apply a local anaesthetic spray to your throat and then pass a dilator into your oesophagus.

Why is oesophageal dilatation performed?

Its most common indication is a stricture or narrowing of the oesophagus. A stricture is scarring of the oesophagus formed due to continuous exposure of oesophageal tissue from reflux of stomach acid. These patients often have discomfort or pain during swallowing. Less common indications are oesophageal webs or rings, scarring after radiation treatment, cancer of the oesophagus, or certain motility disorders.

How to prepare

Preparation for oesophageal dilation is almost similar to that for endoscopy. You will be asked about your past medical and surgical history, drug intake and drug allergies. Guidelines for food and solid intake are also similar to endoscopy.

What can you expect?

Your gastroenterologist may first examine your oesophagus for narrowing, strictures, and oesophageal webs or rings. If found, he may recommend oesophageal dilatation.
During the procedure, a dilator is inserted and placed at the narrowed place with the help of an endoscope. You’ll probably be observed for a short period of time after the procedure. Most patients experience no symptoms after dilatation and can resume solid and liquid intake the next day.

Possible side effects

The complications of oesophageal dilatation are rare if done by an experienced gastroenterologist. Complication if occur may include a perforation or hole in the oesophagus and side effects from sedatives (especially if you are allergic to certain sedatives. You should contact your physician if you experience signs of possible complications like difficulty swallowing, chest pain, trouble breathing, fever, or bleeding from the oesophagus.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other healthcare professional. ALWAYS check with your doctor if you have any concerns about your condition or treatment.

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