Don't eat or drink for 6 hours beforehand unless told otherwise.
Talk to your doctor about:
Any medicines you take. You may need to stop taking some medicines up to 1 week in advance.
In some cases,
will be used. You will be asleep. A local anesthetic may also be used to numb the area first. A sedative may be given to help you relax.
Description of Procedure
An esophageal dilation will happen during an
endoscopy. The doctor will place a tube into the mouth. It then goes down into the esophagus. The tube has a tiny light and a camera. This will allow it easier for the doctor to see certain structures.
Fluoroscopy may also be used. This is mainly done when a dilator is being placed. X-rays help the doctor see where the dilator is.
The doctor will decide which type of dilator to use when the stricture is found. There are many types of tube shaped devices. The doctor may choose a plastic or a balloon dilator. This will depend on how narrow the area is.
For the plastic type, a scope is used to place a guide wire into the esophagus. This will allow the doctor to place the dilator in the correct spot. The scope will be taken out. A tapered dilator will be placed through the mouth and throat to the site. The doctor may need to do this process many times using wider dilators.
If the balloon type is used, it will also be inserted using a scope. The dilator is placed in the correct position. The balloon is inflated to the size needed to widen the stricture.
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
About 15 minutes, but timing will depend on the size of the stricture
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. You will have a sore throat afterwards.
At the Care Center
You will be watched by the healthcare staff while you recover. They will check to make sure your gag reflex is working as it should. The gag reflex keeps you from choking.
To help you get better faster:
You will need to take it easy for the first 24 hours. You will get care instructions from the healthcare staff.
If you were diagnosed with GERD, the doctor may advise you take certain medicines.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Signs of infection such as fever or chills
Coughing up blood or vomiting blood after you or your doctor expect it to stop
Pain in the esophagus
Problems when you swallow
Nausea or vomiting
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Esophageal dilatation. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: https://www.chop.edu/treatments/esophageal-dilatation#.VZLcV010zxM. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Esophageal dilation. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/gastro/Pages/esophageal-dilation.aspx. Updated July 2013. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Esophageal dilation—frequently asked questions. World Labaroscopy Hospital website. Available at: https://www.laparoscopyhospital.com/esophagial-dilation.html. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Kafrouni M. Esophageal dilation. Memorial Hermann Esophageal Disease Center website. Available at: http://www.memorialhermann.org/digestive/esophageal-dialation. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Understanding esophageal dilation. American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website. Available at: https://www.asge.org/home/for-patients/patient-information/understanding-eso-dilation-updated. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 8/14/2018
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