Esophageal Dilation

The esophagus is a muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. If the esophagus is too narrow, swallowing problems can occur. During an esophageal dilation, the doctor places a tube-shaped device into the esophagus to widen the narrow part. This procedure makes it easier to swallow and get proper nutrition.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Coughing up blood or vomiting blood (Right after the procedure, you may cough up a small amount of blood.)
    • Pain in the esophagus
    • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Chest pain

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away..

  • Definition

    The esophagus is a muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. If the esophagus is too narrow, swallowing problems can occur.

    During an esophageal dilation, the doctor places a tube-shaped device into the esophagus to widen the narrow part. This procedure makes it easier to swallow and get proper nutrition.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure


    Esophageal dilation is done to treat a narrowing in the esophagus, called a
    stricture. This happens when there is a build-up of scar tissue, which may be due to conditions like:

    • Gastrointestinal reflux disease
      (GERD)
    • Injury to the esophagus
    • Eosinophilic esophagitis
    • Congenital defects or after repair of defects of the esophagus
    • Scleroderma
    Esophageal Stricture
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    Esophageal dilation widens the esophagus. Some patients may need the procedure repeated within a year.

  • Possible Complications

    Complications are rare. But no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have esophageal dilation, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Bleeding (including coughing up blood or having bloody vomit)
    • Poor reaction to the anesthesia or sedatives
    • Chest pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Infection
    • Soreness and pain in the throat
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Severe swelling in the middle part of the chest
    • Inhalation of stomach contents
    • Tear or hole in the esophageal lining (can lead to bleeding and the need for more surgery)

    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Smaller stricture
    • Obesity
    • Smoking
    • Diabetes
    • Heart or lung problems

    Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.