If you’ve had long-term problems with heartburn, this may have caused scarring in your esophagus. The frequent reflux of stomach acid is to blame. Now, the scar tissue has created a narrowed portion of your esophagus that can make it difficult for you to swallow. Food may feel as if it is “stuck” in the chest region, causing pain. There are other causes for a narrowing of the esophagus, as well.
At Ogden Gastro, we use a procedure called esophageal dilation to stretch the narrowed area of your esophagus and return normal function.
What is esophageal dilation?
The goal of esophageal dilation is to dilate/stretch the narrowed portion of your esophagus. We can do this as part of a sedated endoscopy. Or we may anesthetize your throat and pass a dilator into your esophagus. This procedure is very successful, and patients can usually resume normal eating the next day.
How is esophageal dilation done?
At Ogden Gastro, we can perform this procedure a couple ways. We may make it a part of an upper endoscopy. In these cases, we spray local anesthetic into your throat and the pass an endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. This will provide images to let Dr. Gonzales determine whether to use a dilating balloon or plastic dilators over a guiding wire to stretch your esophagus.
The other alternative is to pass a tapered dilating instrument through your mouth and guide it into your esophagus. The dilating instrument will then be used to stretch the area to normal width.
What happens after my esophageal dilation?
This is an outpatient procedure. You’ll be observed for a short period of time after your procedure, and then you can return home. You can begin drinking when your throat anesthetic wears off. You may have a mild sore throat for the rest of the day. Most patients have no other side effects or symptoms, and they can resume normal eating the next day.
Will I need to do this more than once?
Sometimes esophageal dilation may be done in gradual steps. This depends on the degree and cause of your narrowing. This reduces the risk of complications. In other cases, one treatment is sufficient. This is especially true if acid-suppressing medicines decrease the patient’s risk of acid reflux.
If you feel as if you may have a narrow esophagus, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Gonzales and the team at Ogden Gastro, (801) 387-2550.