Esophageal Dilatation

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The esophagus is the long tube that connects your mouth with your stomach. When you swallow, food travels down the esophagus to the stomach to be digested. If this tube is too narrow, your doctor will need to widen it (or dilate the esophagus). Your doctor may tell you that you need an esophageal dilatation if:

  • It is hard or painful for you to swallow
  • You feel like something is stuck in your esophagus
  • You have had acid reflux for a long time

What will the procedure involve?

You will be given medicine that will help you to sleep. Then the doctor will place a very narrow, bendable tube down your esophagus. The doctor will place a balloon down the tube, and when it gets to the right spot in the esophagus the doctor will slightly blow up the balloon so that is presses against your esophagus walls to widen it.

Before and After the Procedure

You should not eat or drink anything 6 to 8 hours before this procedure in order to avoid problems with the medicine that will be used to help you sleep during the procedure.

Immediately after the procedure, you will begin to slowly wake up from the medicine. Once you are able to drink fluids, you can have food and may go home. Sometimes a child may feel sick after the procedure, and will need to stay a bit longer until feeling better.

When to Call the Doctor

Have your parents contact the doctor after you get home if you experience:

  • Belly pain for more than an hour.
  • Throwing up several times.
  • Bleeding. Spitting up a small amount of blood may be normal for your child. However, if your child spits up more than a spoonful of blood, or if your child bleeds longer than 1 day, let your doctor know.
  • Persistent fevers.
  • Sore throat. It is normal to have a sore throat for a day or two after the procedure. However, contact your doctor if your throat is very sore or if the soreness does not go away.