Esophageal dilation is a medical procedure that opens or stretches narrowed areas of the esophagus, the tube your food uses to travel from the mouth to the stomach. Often, esophageal dilation is performed as part of an endoscopic procedure under sedation, but it may also be performed by passing a dilating tool into the esophagus after coating your throat with an anesthetic.
Esophageal dilation is most commonly performed in patients whose esophagus becomes scarred after a prolonged period of chronic acid reflux. Continual irritation by stomach acid can cause scar tissue to form at the lower end of the esophagus, making it rigid and inflexible so that it cannot expand and stretch when food passes. Other causes for esophageal narrowing include esophageal cancer, scarring following radiation, swallowing disorders and growth of excess rings of tissue. Patients typically experience trouble swallowing including an uncomfortable sensation that food is “stuck.”
Once the procedure is complete, you'll be in recovery for a brief period for observation while the sedative wears off. Once the anesthetic used to numb your throat has worn off, you'll be able to resume eating and drinking unless Dr. Lai advises otherwise. Try drinking slowly at first to make sure the anesthetic has completely worn off before eating any solid foods. Your throat may feel scratchy or sore for a few hours after the procedure and your voice may be hoarse. Because you'll be sedated for the procedure, you'll need someone to drive you home afterward.
Complications associated with esophageal dilation are extremely rare, but may include perforation of the esophageal lining that may require surgical correction.
Below is a short list of the insurance plans we accept. If you do not see your insurance on the list, please call our office. We also offer very reasonable discounted packages for patients who do not have insurance coverage.