If you have difficulty swallowing, chest pain, or other upper digestive tract issues, it could be caused by scar tissue in your esophagus (food tube). At Gastrointestinal Consultants in Tavares, Orlando, and The Villages, Florida, expert gastroenterologists Lalbahadur Nagabhairu, MD, and Shams Tabrez, MD, can perform a simple procedure called esophageal dilation to relieve your symptoms. Book your appointment online or call the office in your area for help now.
Esophageal dilation is a treatment to widen a narrowed part of your esophagus and make it easier to swallow.
The Gastrointestinal Consultants team may perform esophageal dilation while you’re sedated for an upper endoscopy, a procedure in which they pass a thin tube containing a camera down your throat and into your upper digestive system.
Or, the team may perform the procedure by applying a local throat-numbing spray and passing a weighted dilator into your mouth and through to the narrowed part of your esophagus.
The most common cause of esophageal strictures (narrowing) is scar tissue buildup. This often happens in people with chronic acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD).
If you have GERD, it’s common to have difficulty swallowing as well as issues like heartburn, a sour taste in your mouth, and other acid reflux-related problems.
Esophageal dilation can offer relief for the swallowing issues and can tame chest-area discomfort as well.
Less commonly, other problems like esophageal cancer, radiation treatment, and esophagus movement disorders can cause scarring that may require esophageal dilation.
Generally, you rest in a recovery area for a short time and can then return home. If you received any type of sedation, you must have a loved one drive you home.
Once the numbness wears off, you can usually drink water or other liquids. Most people can eat as normal starting the next day. The Gastrointestinal Consultants team gives you specific instructions for recovery based on your situation and condition.
The frequency of your esophageal dilations depends on the severity of the stricture, what caused it, and other factors specific to you. You may only need one esophageal dilation.
For more complex strictures, the team may perform esophageal dilation gradually, over a few sessions, to reduce the risk of tissue trauma or other complications. Once fully dilated, you may not need additional procedures in the future.
If you have chronic acid reflux, the scar tissue can return over time. So, the team may prescribe acid-reducing or acid-suppressing drugs to minimize this risk and help you avoid future esophageal dilations.
Esophageal dilation can ease the pain of swallowing and allow you to eat normally again. To learn more, call Gastrointestinal Consultants or click on the provided link now.