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Esophageal Dilation with Bougies

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What is esophageal dilation with bougies?

Esophageal dilation with bougies is a procedure in which the doctor tries to widen a part of your esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) with cone-shaped tubes called bougies.

When is it used?

This procedure is used when you are having trouble swallowing due to a disease that is causing the esophagus to narrow.

As an alternative you could choose not to have treatment, recognizing the risks of your condition. You should ask your doctor about this choice.

How do I prepare for esophageal dilation with bougies?

Plan for your care and recovery after the operation, especially if you are to have general anesthesia. Allow for time to rest and try to find people to help you with your day-to-day duties.

Follow any instructions your doctor may give you. No special preparation is usually needed.

What happens during the procedure?

A local anesthetic and a sedative are given to help you relax. A local anesthetic is a drug that should keep you from feeling pain during the operation. The doctor places increasingly larger cone-shaped tubes into the narrow part of your esophagus. The tubes remain in place for about 15 seconds. You may feel a pressure sensation while the tubes are lodged in your esophagus. This may stretch the surrounding tissue and create a wider passageway.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be observed for about a half hour. You should not drive or do anything that requires coordination or quick response for 4 hours after the procedure, so someone should drive you home.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

You may be able to swallow more easily.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?
  • A local anesthetic may not numb the area quite enough and you may feel some minor discomfort. Also, in rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the drug used in this type of anesthesia.
  • Acid from your stomach could back up into your esophagus and cause an irritation.
  • Your esophagus may tear and need repair.
  • Your esophagus may become narrow again and this procedure may need to be repeated.
  • There is a risk of infection or bleeding.

You should ask your doctor how these risks apply to you.

When should I call the doctor?

Call the doctor immediately if:

  • You develop difficulty breathing.
  • You develop chest pain.
  • You develop abdominal pain.

Call the doctor during office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its result.
  • You want to make another appointment.

Find a Brooklyn Gastroenterologist at Practice Brooklyn Gastroenterology and Endoscopy

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