Oesophageal Dilatation

Oesophageal dilatation is performed during panendoscopy, and involves inserting an endoscope via the mouth to open up a narrowing of the oesophagus.

A dilating tube is inserted via the endoscope to the site of the narrowing, allowing the gastroenterologist to expand the blocked oesophagus. This procedure is performed while the patient is sedated, resulting in little, if any, discomfort for the patient.

This procedure is useful for treating numerous conditions that result in narrowing of the oesophagus such as:

  • Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
  • Oesophageal cancer
  • Dysphagia with narrowing
  • Achalasia
  • Hiatus hernia with narrowing
  • Eosinophilic oesophagitis


This procedure requires intravenous sedation via a small needle to a vein at the back of the hand or in the arm. In some patients the injection may cause a local reaction and sometimes bruising under the skin may occur. But these are usually reversible local reactions and will resolve in a few days. The throat may be sprayed with a local anaesthetic agent to lessen the feel of the endoscope tube being inserted. The throat may feel numb for a short time and will resolve in a few hours.


In some patients, temporary discomfort or pain may occur due to the introduction of air into the stomach or bowel. In rare instances major complications like perforation (puncture) of the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel or colon can occur. Haemorrhage (bleeding) following removal of polyps, infection, cardiac or respiratory arrest related to sedation/anaesthesia may also occur.

If you wish to discuss the potential risks or any issues regarding your procedure(s) in more detail, please speak with the gastroenterologist.