What is Esophageal Dilation?
Esophageal dilation is a procedure in which your doctor will dilate (stretch out) a narrowed or blocked area of your esophagus. Esophageal dilation is typically performed as an endoscopic procedure to treat gastrointestinal concerns that come with the narrowing (called a stricture) of the esophagus.
Most commonly used is balloon dilation, where the balloon is inserted at the point of the stricture using the video on an endoscope and is then inflated to dilate the esophagus.
Esophageal dilation is not used as a method to cure any diseases or conditions, but as a therapeutic procedure to relieve symptoms. Therefore, you may need to receive esophageal dilation therapy multiple times, depending on the nature of your condition.
Who Needs Esophageal Dilation?
There are many different reasons an individual could benefit from esophageal dilation. Some of the common conditions that often result in an esophageal dilation procedure can include:
- Chemical injury to the esophagus that causes inflammation/narrowing
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Esophageal cancer
- GERD (chronic acid reflux)
Can I Eat After Esophageal Dilation?
Most patients who receive esophageal dilation may return to eating their normal diet following the procedure after any numbness recedes. Start by eating soft foods, especially if you still find difficulty swallowing, such as bananas, eggs, and pudding. Chew your food well before swallowing. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have, and the diet that is right for you.
Is Esophageal Dilation Safe?
Complications are rare when performed by specially trained doctors, however, even when performed correctly, the procedure can possibly produce complications. Such complications include tearing of the esophagus lining, bleeding, and reaction to anesthesia. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have, and specific risks for your condition.