Oesophageal dilatation

Surgery to widen a narrowed oesophagus

An oesophageal dilatation is a surgical procedure to widen a narrowed oesophagus (food pipe)

About oesophageal dilatation

Your oesophagus (food pipe) is a muscular tube that carries food and drink from your mouth to your stomach. Sometimes, it can narrow because of conditions like GORD or as a result of treatments like radiotherapy.

When this happens, we can carry out an oesephageal dilation, which is a surgical procedure to widen a narrowed oesophagus.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    You'll be given a sedative to numb your throat. Your consultant will then pass an endoscope — a slim, flexible tube with a light on the end of it — down your oesophagus. They'll then insert a balloon dilator into the narrowed part and gently inflate it. Alternatively, your consultant will pass a fine wire into the narrowing. They'll then pass a dilator over the wire and apply pressure to stretch the narrowing. Whichever technique is used, the procedure will take about 10 minutes.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain how to prepare for the procedure. You'll most likely be asked to not eat or drink anything for at least six hours prior to your procedure. You'll be given a sedative prior to the procedure. The effects of the sedative can last for up to 24 hours, so you should arrange for someone to come and collect you. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After the procedure, you'll be given some time to sit and recover. During this time, your nurse specialist will check on your blood pressure, temperature and pulse. Your nurse will then give you the results of the oesophageal dilation. If you've asked someone to pick you up after the procedure, your specialist nurse will ask them to come and collect you. You may feel bloated after the procedure or notice some blood in your saliva. And it may seem like your swallowing hasn't improved. However, these symptoms should pass after a few days.

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Consultant with patient

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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