A not uncommon presentation to Gastroenterologists is difficulty in swallowing and some patients are found to have oesophageal strictures. A benign oesophageal stricture is a narrowing or tightening of the oesophagus, caused by long standing oesophageal reflux disease, oesophagitis, or impaired contraction and motility of the oesophagus and a dysfunctional sphincter at the junction between the stomach and the oesophagus.
Patients who have difficulty swallowing can undergo a number of tests to investigate the cause, although endoscopy is now the gold standard investigation.
If a benign stricture is found, dilatation can be performed with either a controlled radial expansion (CRE) balloon or a dilator called bougie. Talk to you Gastroenterologist about the type of equipment that we will be needed on the day, the expected long term benefits and whether the procedure will need to be repeated later on. Like all procedures involving dilatation of a tubular structure, a small tear can occur during dilatation and therefore it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your Gastroenterologist.
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