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Esophageal Banding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 3, 2023.

What do I need to know about esophageal banding?

Esophageal banding is a procedure used to treat varices in your esophagus. It may also be called ligation. Varices are swollen veins in your esophagus. They are caused by increased pressure in the blood vessels of your liver. As the pressure builds in your liver, the pressure also builds in the veins in your esophagus.

How do I prepare for my procedure?

Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for this procedure. You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. Your provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home after your procedure. The person needs to stay with you to make sure you are okay.

What will happen during my procedure?

  • Your healthcare provider will use an endoscope for this procedure. An endoscope is a flexible tube with a light and camera on the end. Small bands made of rubber are loaded onto the endoscope. The scope is moved down your throat until it reaches the varices or the area that is bleeding. The bands are placed around the varices to cause them to shrink.
    Upper Endoscopy
  • The bands may be used to prevent or stop bleeding. Bleeding will be stopped first. Then more bands will be placed on varices that are not bleeding. This will help prevent them from bleeding. You may need to have this procedure repeated every 1 to 4 weeks until the varices are gone.

What should I expect after my procedure?

  • You may be sleepy from the anesthesia for up to 24 hours after your procedure. Do not drive or operate heavy machines. Do not take any medicine that makes you sleepy. More medicine could cause your breathing to become dangerously slow.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours after this procedure. Then have small sips of cool water or other clear liquids.
  • You may have some throat discomfort after this procedure. This is normal and should get better within 2 days. Cough drops, honey, or a warm salt water gargle may help relieve the discomfort.

What are the risks of esophageal banding?

You may develop ulcers in your esophagus. Bleeding from varices may happen again, even after treatment. Your esophagus may be torn during the procedure. You may have pain when you swallow, or bleeding from an ulcer.

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

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