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Esophageal Dilatation

What is Esophageal Dilatation?

An esophageal dilatation is a procedure for children with a history of narrowing of the esophagus (food pipe). This can be caused by past surgeries, chronic swelling of the esophagus, or chronic health problems.

The esophageal dilatation is done under anesthesia.

Before Dilatation

To get ready for this procedure, your child must limit food and beverage intake. If your child is able to tolerate solids or liquids, make sure to stop:

  • Solid foods seven hours before the arrival time
  • Clear liquids three hours before the arrival time

You and your child will report to Same Day Surgery 90 minutes before the start of the procedure, where he / she will be prepared for surgery.

Parents, or legal guardians, are able to stay with the child to the surgery room, where you will meet the surgery team. The anesthesiologist will place a soft mask over your child's face with "sleepy gas." When your child falls asleep, you will be escorted to the Surgery Waiting Area until the procedure is complete.

During Dilatation

The doctor will use a balloon catheter to dilate (stretch) the narrowing in the esophagus. With the use of a special type of X-ray, the doctor can locate the narrowing and dilate this area. This takes approximately 30 minutes.

When the procedure is done, your child will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where he / she will wake up. You will join your child in the PACU as soon as your child is fully awake.

After Dilatation

When your child is fully awake, he or she may have a clear liquid diet. Your child will then advance to a soft diet when they are able.

Most children go home the same day of surgery. Your child may experience some discomfort in the throat and may see a small amount of bloody in his or her spit.

If your child is able to take clear liquids, you may try a soft diet and progress to a regular diet if your child's doctor says that it is OK.

If your child experiences any severe pain or bleeding after going home, call your doctor right away.

Last Updated 07/2022

Reviewed By Jen Willoughby
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