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Esophageal Dilatation


  • Esophageal dilatation is a procedure to widen the part of your esophagus that is too narrow. The esophagus is the soft tube that carries food and liquids from your throat to your stomach. Any injury or change in the esophagus tissue may cause it to have swelling and damage. When damaged areas heal, scar tissue can form to make the areas hard and stiff. Areas of scar tissue can cause the esophagus to become narrow. Food, and sometimes liquids, may have a hard time passing through the narrow part of the esophagus. Injuries may be caused by long-standing reflux disease, infections, surgery, radiation treatment, or swallowing chemicals or foreign bodies. A tumor (growth) inside or near the esophagus, and diseases of the esophageal muscles may also cause narrowing.
    Digestive System
  • An endoscopy exam of the esophagus and stomach (EGD) may be done before or during the dilatation procedure. This is done with an endoscope, which is a bendable tube that has a light and camera on its end. Esophageal dilatation is done using one of three types of dilators. A balloon dilator may be passed through the endoscope during the exam and then inflated in the esophagus. A rigid or bougie dilator is passed through your mouth without the endoscope until it reaches the narrowing. Bougies are dilators made of soft rubber and filled with metal to make them heavy. Rigid dilators are made of hard plastic and positioned using a guide wire passed through the endoscope. Your caregiver may use fluoroscopy (special type of x-ray) to guide him during the procedure. Usually no more than three dilators of increasing sizes are passed in a single procedure. Having an esophageal dilatation will help relieve your problems with swallowing food.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Anti-acid medicine: This medicine is given to decrease the amount of acid your stomach makes. It may help prevent the narrowing of your esophagus from coming back.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.


You may have your usual diet after the procedure. Chew your food well to make it easier to swallow. Eat soft foods if you still have problems swallowing. Some soft foods include applesauce, baby food, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, eggs, gelatin, pudding, and yogurt. Ask your caregiver for more information on the type of food that is right for you.


  • You get a fever.
  • You have a feeling of being too full or bloated.
  • You have more problems swallowing food.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have questions or concerns about your recovery, medicine, or care.


  • You are vomiting up blood.
  • You are not able to swallow any food.
  • You have a chest pain, fast heartbeat, or trouble breathing all of a sudden.
  • Your abdomen (stomach) suddenly becomes tender and hard.

Learn more about Esophageal Dilatation (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.