Esophageal Dilatation

Also known as: esophageal dilation.

What is esophageal dilatation?

If a patient’s esophagus is too narrow, esophageal dilatation is a procedure that can be used to stretch and open it up. This is often used if swallowing food or liquid proves to be difficult.

What happens during the procedure?

An X-ray is used for guidance during the procedure. As the patient lies under general anesthesia, a wire is guided through the mouth and down the esophagus. A balloon is inflated on the wire in order to stretch and open up the esophagus.

Is any special preparation needed?

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, inflammation or perforation of the esophagus are potential complications of esophageal dilatation.

Reviewed by: Carrie Firestone Baum, MD

This page was last updated on: April 22, 2021 11:56 AM

Pediatric Gastroenterology

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is dedicated to the treatment of a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems in infants, children and adolescents with a multidisciplinary approach.

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An Esophagram is a type of X-ray that shows how well the esophagus is working and is looking to see the direction in which the food travels as its being swallowed. Learn more


Dilatation is the process of opening up a narrow body part in order to restore its function or perform a medical procedure on it. Learn more