In an esophageal dilation, a physician dilates, or stretches, a narrowed part of the patient’s esophagus. There are a number of dilating techniques available to the physician. Simple bougie dilatation may be done in the office, in a sitting position, and with only an anesthetic spray of the throat. If endoscopy is performed at the same time, then it will be done in the endoscopy suite, usually under sedation. If X-ray fluoroscopy equipment is needed, the procedure is performed in the X-ray unit. Simple bougie dilatation may take only a few minutes. The other techniques require 20 to 30 minutes.
What to Expect for the Procedure
Physicians can use various techniques for this procedure. Alternatively, your doctor might apply a local anesthetic spray to the back of your throat with a local anesthetic spray, and then give you sedatives to help you relax and then pass a weighted dilator through your mouth and into your esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing. At this point your doctor will determine whether to use a dilating balloon or plastic dilators over a guiding wire to stretch your esophagus. You might experience mild pressure in the back of your throat or in your chest during the procedure.
After the Procedure
After the dilation is done, you will probably be observed for a short period of time and then allowed to return to your normal activities. You may resume drinking when the anesthetic no longer causes numbness to your throat, unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Most patients experience no symptoms after this procedure and can resume eating the next day, but you might experience a mild sore throat for the remainder of the day.
If you received sedatives, you probably will be monitored in a recovery area until you are ready to leave. You will not be allowed to drive after the procedure even though you might not feel tired. You should arrange for someone to accompany you home, because the sedatives might affect your judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day.