Esophageal Dilation

What you should know

Esophageal dilation is a procedure to widen a narrow part of your esophagus. Your caregiver will use a dilator (inflatable balloon or another tool that expands) to make the area wider. He may also do an endoscopy before or during your esophageal dilation. During an endoscopy, your caregiver will use a scope to see inside your esophagus.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

During the procedure, saliva or stomach fluid may get into your lungs and cause pneumonia. Your esophagus may be damaged and cause bleeding or an infection. You may need another surgery to repair the damage. Even with treatment, your esophagus may become narrow again.

Getting Ready

The week before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • You may need blood or urine tests before your procedure. You may also need to have a barium swallow, x-ray, CT scan, or MRI of your esophagus. Talk with your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your procedure:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

Your caregiver will insert a scope or dilator into your mouth and guide it down to your esophagus. A sample of tissue may be taken to be tested. Your caregiver will use a dilator to stretch the narrow part of your esophagus. He may repeat this step 1 or 2 times with larger dilators. He may place a stent or inject steroid medicine into the area to help prevent it from narrowing again.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your procedure.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have a cold or the flu.

  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have more trouble swallowing.

  • You lose weight without trying.

  • You have food stuck in your throat that will not move.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Esophageal Dilation (Precare)

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