Esophageal Dilation

(Dilation, Esophageal)

Definition

The esophagus is a muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. If the esophagus is too narrow, swallowing problems can occur.During an esophageal dilation, the doctor places a tube-shaped device into the esophagus to widen the narrow part. This procedure makes it easier to swallow and get proper nutrition.

Reasons for Procedure

Esophageal dilation is done to treat a narrowing in the esophagus, called a stricture. This happens when there is a build-up of scar tissue, which may be due to conditions like:
  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Injury to the esophagus
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Congenital defects or after repair of defects of the esophagus
  • Scleroderma
Esophageal Stricture
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Esophageal dilation widens the esophagus. Some patients may need the procedure repeated within a year.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare. But no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have esophageal dilation, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
  • Bleeding (including coughing up blood or having bloody vomit)
  • Poor reaction to the anesthesia or sedatives
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Infection
  • Soreness and pain in the throat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe swelling in the middle part of the chest
  • Inhalation of stomach contents
  • Tear or hole in the esophageal lining (can lead to bleeding and the need for more surgery)
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.

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