Dilatation

Also known as: dilation.

What is dilatation?

Dilatation (also called dilation) is the process of opening up a narrow body part in order to restore its function or perform a medical procedure on it. The process of dilatation can be performed in different ways depending on which body part is affected.

What happens during the procedure?

Dilatation processes can vary widely depending on the body part that needs dilated. For example, in order to dilate the cervix, doctors will use progressively thicker rods to open it up for a procedure. Other parts of the body that are more difficult to access, such as the esophagus may be dilated with a balloon that is inserted through a scope or with a guidewire.

Is any special preparation needed?

Preparation will vary based on the nature of the dilatation. You may need to avoid food, drink or medication for a set period of time before the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Bleeding, infection or perforation of surrounding tissue are potential complications of dilatation.

Reviewed by: Carrie Firestone Baum, MD

This page was last updated on: April 22, 2021 10:49 AM

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