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The esophagus is the tube that carries food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. If it becomes too narrow, swallowing food or liquid may be difficult. Esophageal dilatation (also called dilation) is a technique used to stretch or open portions of the esophagus that are too narrow.
There are different causes of esophageal strictures (narrowing), including allergies and injury. Your primary physician is responsible for finding out what is causing the problem. Your physician will refer you to the interventional radiologist, who will perform the dilatation.
Using live X-ray (fluoroscopy) for guidance, a doctor places a flexible wire into the mouth and down the esophagus, past the narrowed area. Then a deflated balloon is threaded over the wire and inflated into a sausage shape to stretch and enlarge the narrowed area. Sometimes more than one balloon will be used. Your child will be protected by an X-ray shield during this procedure.
No. All children are given general anesthesia for the procedure.
The procedure is considered low-risk. However, potential complications include:
Some children experience chest pain or pain with swallowing in the first 24 hours after the procedure. You may give over-the-counter pain medication.