Esophageal Dilation

What is the purpose of esophageal dilation?

Esophageal dilation is a minimally invasive procedure to treat patients with an abnormal narrowing of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach) that may be causing trouble swallowing.

How is esophageal dilation performed?

An intravenous line will be placed in your arm, through which the anesthesiologist will administer gentle sedation, allowing you to sleep the entire time and have no discomfort.

The gastroenterologist will stretch the narrowed area of the esophagus by either passing a balloon through a flexible endoscope and carefully inflating it under direct visualization inside the narrowed area, or passing a tapered, flexible, tube-shaped dilator through the stricture.

Dilation procedures typically last about 15 minutes.

What preparation is required for esophageal dilation?

To prepare for the procedure, you need to follow certain dietary instructions, as directed by your doctor.

What happens following an esophageal dilation?

You’ll spend 20-30 minutes in a recovery area while the sedation wears off, and you can eat immediately.

The gastroenterologist will speak with you before you go home.

Because of the anesthesia, you will need someone to escort you home. You should plan to take it easy the rest of the day, and you cannot drive a car following the procedure until the next day.

In most cases, you will return to a normal diet and experience little or no discomfort.

In some instances, especially if there is allergic type esophagitis, there may be some transient pain related to the stretching, which can be treated as needed with over-the-counter pain medications and antacids. In certain cases, your doctor may ask you to remain on a liquid diet for 24-48 hours.

In most instances, a full dilation is accomplished in a single visit, but in others, safety considerations require a series of smaller, progressive dilations, typically about a month apart.

Contact ECNY