Esophageal dilation is a procedure that can open up narrow areas of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food to your stomach. When this tube is too narrow, it is hard for food and liquids to pass through. This makes it hard to swallow.
During the procedure, the doctor guides a balloon or plastic dilator down your throat and into your esophagus. Then the device expands, like a balloon filling with air. It widens any narrow parts of your esophagus. To guide the balloon or plastic dilator, the doctor may use a thin, lighted tube that bends. (It is called an endoscope, or a scope.) Or he or she may use a thin wire as a guide.
You may get medicine to numb the back of your throat and help you relax during the procedure. You will not feel pain. You may go home after your doctor or nurse checks to make sure that you are not having any problems.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: March 27, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
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