Esophageal Dilation

Esophageal dilation is a procedure to provide relief for patients with swallowing difficulties. Patients often describe that they feel that certain foods, particularly meat or bread, seem to “stick” as it goes down the esophagus. At times they have to drink liquids to get it down and sometimes they even have to bring the food back up. This symptom, termed dysphagia, commonly occurs with patients with long-term acid reflux (GERD) after the acid injury has caused scarring in the lower esophagus. This scarring can also occur in an allergic problem in the esophagus, eosinophilic esophagitis. The goal of the dilation procedure is to stretch the scar tissue to a diameter that relieves that feeling of dysphagia. After you brought back to the procedure room, you will be asked to lie on your left side. A protective guard will be placed to protect your teeth. Then the anesthesia specialist will give you an intravenous medication to be sure you are asleep and comfortable during the procedure. The specialist will insert a small flexible fiberoptic video scope and carefully advance it to visualize the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The specialist will assess the severity of narrowing of the esophagus and, will use instruments to carefully enlarge the diameter to help reduce the swallowing difficulties. The procedure usually takes 10-20 minutes to perform.