Esophageal Dilatation

Esophageal Dilatation

What should I know about Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray imaging.  It allows physicians to view real-time (movie-like) images of your internal structures.   Because fluoroscopy involves the use of x-rays, ionizing radiation, all fluoroscopic procedures pose some health risks.  If you are pregnant, you should discuss these risks with your physician before having this procedure.

What should I know about Fluoroscopic X-ray Dye?

Fluoroscopy procedures require various types of x-ray dyes depending on the reason for the procedure and what information the physician wants to obtain from the procedure.  The most commonly used x-ray dye is barium sulfate, a white-chalky substance.  Other x-ray dyes used in our fluoroscopy department are water-soluble agents, omnipaque (iohexol) and hypaque (diatrizoic acid).  The technologist will ask you a series of questions before giving you the x-ray dye to reduce the chance of a contrast reaction.  Having a known allergy to x-ray dye will not necessarily prevent you from having the procedure but may require pre-medication so please inform the technologist.

What is a Fluoroscopic Balloon Dilation?

A fluoroscopic balloon dilation is a procedure done by one of our radiology physicians and technologists in the x-ray department to stretch a narrowed area of your esophagus.  Sedation by a registered radiology nurse will be provided, if needed, for anxiety and pain control.  This sedation is given through a small plastic needle in your arm.  The radiologist will also numb your throat.  Once you are made comfortable, a small tube will be passed through your mouth into your stomach.  The end of the tube has a balloon around it. The balloon will be inflated for short periods of time and this will stretch the size of your esophagus. The tube will then be removed.  Once you have recovered from the sedation, you will be asked to drink x-ray dye while images are taken of your esophagus.  You will be asked to move into different positions to take these x-ray images.  You can expect this procedure to take 30-60 minutes with an additional 30 minutes allowed for sedation preparation.

What should I do before the procedure?

If you are having IV Sedation for anxiety and pain control:

  • Be sure to bring someone with you to drive you home after this procedure.
  • Please arrive in radiology 1 hour prior to your scheduled procedure time.
  • Do NOT eat anything for 4 hours before your scheduled procedure time.  You may have clear liquids until 2 hours before the procedure. 
    • Clear liquids include, water, soda and coffee without cream, tea and juice that you can hold up to the light and see through.  No orange or tomato juice and no milk.
    • If you are scheduled for another radiology procedure the same day, such as, a barium swallow you will need to have nothing to eat drink chew or smoke after midnight the day before your scheduled procedure.
    • If you are diabetic, do NOT take your diabetic medication. Bring this medication to the hospital with you.  
    • If you take "fluid pills", do NOT take them.
    • If you take aspirin or other blood thinning medicine, check with your doctor about taking them. We recommend that you do NOT take either for 7 days prior to the procedure.


If these guidelines are not followed, you will not be able to have IV Sedation and your procedure may have to be rescheduled.

What should I do after the procedure?

You will be monitored by a registered radiology nurse until you are fully recovered from this procedure.  You and your driver will be given detailed instructions including the time and type of foods/liquids you are allowed to have upon discharge.


For any questions or concerns

Contact the Radiology and Medical Imaging department at 434-924-9400.