Eisenhower Army Medical Center
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Esophageal Dilation

After careful medical assessment, your doctor has recommended that esophageal dilation be performed for treatment of your medical condition. This procedure involves the dilation (stretching) of a narrowed area in your esophagus (food tube).

You will be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the doctor to perform the procedure. Please let the doctor and GI nurse know if you are allergic to any medications. If sedation is to be given, an IV will be placed in your arm vein prior to the procedure. Medicine will then be injected through this needle to make you sleepy and relaxed. Your throat will also be sprayed with a numbing medicine.

The esophageal dilation is performed with you sitting in a chair or lying on your left side. The doctor will guide a flexible dilating tube through you mouth and into the narrowed area of your esophagus. After the tube is withdrawn the doctor may then pass two or three slightly large tubes in the same manner to further stretch the esophagus. The procedure usually takes about 10 minutes and is usually well tolerated. You may require repeat visits for further dilation in the future until the narrowed area is stretched to a satisfactory size.

Sometimes esophageal dilation is performed following upper endoscopy. Your doctor may choose to use dilators that are then passed over a wire that he places with the scope, or he may choose to use balloon dilators which can be passed through the endoscope. Occasionally patients may require dilation under fluoroscopy in the x-ray department.

Many people do not recall any of the procedure if they have been given sedative medications. If so, after the procedure you may feel drowsy and may sleep for a short time. The doctor will provide you with written report and instructions when you go home. Please feel free to ask the doctor or GI nurse or technician any questions you may have.