July 02, 2023

How is a Throat Stretched to Treat Swallowing Difficulties?

As an ENT, it is not uncommon to see a patient with a chief complaint of swallowing difficulties, also known as dysphagia. A common cause of dysphagia is an esophageal stricture or some other related benign narrowing of the swallowing tube going down to the stomach.

The video above goes over how the throat can be stretched out to open up such areas of narrowing using either bougies or via balloon dilation. Medically speaking, this procedure is known as an esophageal dilation. The lay term of "throat" stretch is not technically correct as the stretch is not actually occurring in the throat... but in the esophagus.

As such, some but not all ENTs perform these types of procedures (I do not). Usually, the GI doctors are the ones who most often perform such procedures.

Related to esophageal dilations is the endoscopic balloon dilation to treat achalasia shown in the video below as well as one for Schatzki's ring.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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