Oesophageal Patients Association
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Post-op DIlation

Hi everyone - Yesterday at my clinic appointment check I mentioned to my surgeon that I cough none stop after eating to the point I tetch and I'm sick.

He has advised that I come in Tuesday as his minor surgical procedure so they can perform a gastroscopy and possible balloon dilation at the top of my join.

I was told some time back that should a stricture or scar tissue form around the join it would require a stretch?

They want to get this sorted before my chemo starts and before they decide to remove my feeding tube.

Has anyone had this procedure done especially so close to the top of neck? I'm nervous and apprehensive on what to expect from it?

Many thanks in advance


11 Replies

Sorry header should read post-op dilation/stretch.


Yes I've had this done many times and you will find this helps a lot. Try not to fret !


yes ,I've had this done .IME it was just like any other endoscopy that I've had .I think it sounds more alarming than it sounds .

Hope you're managing to get some rest and that you're recovering after op .



Had it done 3 times, last time was 7 years ago so can be a permanent easy fix.


This is such positive news to hear from everyone. This week I've had a few scary episodes- where food was stuck in the throat/ join and I tried having a drink to shift it and I just can't breath and start choking where I have to throw up . This happened in the car and had to open the car door whilst in a queue and hang my headout and the second eating out with my family and had to run off the table as couldn't breath and go outside quick. I'm just desperate to get it sorted as I'm so anxious every time I eat. By the sounds of it does that mean i might need it stretching few times? Is it painful or just uncomfortable - esp as my join is right in my throat so worried about gagging.


Hi from Australia, I had surgery right at the top (over 4 years ago) and had a series of dilations starting every 30 days and tapering off. My diet was starting with clear liquids only onto thicker liquids and then onto softer foods at about 6 months out of hospital. They kept the feeding tube in a long time as they are put in during surgery and they only remove when definitely not needed. To this day I mainly only eat soft warm foods with a 150ml cup capacity the limit.

Things definitely do improve with time and the dilations are no problem.


My join is also high in my throat & I've had quite a few dilatations with no problems, not at all painful, just uncomfortable for a day or two. The improvement in swallowing is immediate & a great relief. You may need to have the procedure repeated as I did for lasting results. I'm 4+ years post surgery and have had just 1 dilatation in the last year. I understand your desperation as I also suffered the choking episodes and they are so scary, but a thing of the past now, thankfully. Try not to be nervous, it will be so worth it & will make such a difference to your quality of life. Good luck & I look forward to hearing how you are afterwards.


Some people develop scarring that is more pronounced than others, but it is well within the normal range of experience, and stretching can indeed relieve the problem.

It is very distressing when this regurgitation / vomiting happens, but, again, it is within the range of what normally happens, and the surgeons will normally be able to sort it out. Sometimes the pyloric sphincter (the valve at the bottom of the stomach) needs a stretch so that the stomach empties more efficiently - otherwise the food can hang around too long in your new stomach now located in your chest.

This is non-qualified speculation of course, but the surgeons will analyse what is happening.

It is natural to feel apprehensive about these things, but they do not mean that the original surgery was not successful; it is one of the things with major surgery that sometimes adjustments have to be made afterwards. It is sometimes better that they do some of their work cautiously and adjust things afterwards. Also, it has been a major assault on the digestive nerve system, and it would only be natural for things to take some time to settle down.


Morning everyone - just wanted to say a huge thank you for your advice and experiences- I had the stretch/dilation done yesterday under sedation - it wasn't all in my mind the scar tissue that was forming around the join was causing a stricture, hence the choking. So my surgeon dilated it slightly as they can't over stretch due to healing still taking place at the join. However apart from the discomfort (eased with paracetamol in the evening) what a difference this has made to me and my eating!! At the same time they removed my jtube as I am starting chemo next week. The surgeon has advised that I come back in 4 week time after my 1st cycle of chemo for a second stretch. Now I know what a difference it can make I'm happy to go back as many times as needed for it to improve my eating.


Glad it went well for you.

My husband is 14 weeks post surgery and has suffered similar. He has had one stretch and due his second on the 20th.

Hope all goes well with the chemo x


Since this post I'm 4 weeks post -dilation and my swallowing has got worse so quickly. I'm now having to go back in on the 12th March for my second dilation. I'm shocked that I've got a stricture so soon since my last dilation but then again I am only 8 weeks post surgery - so healing/scar tissue is still forming.


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