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Balloon dilation is an effective, non-invasive means of overcoming gastrointestinal strictures. Patients with malignant or benign strictures in the oesophagus, colon or pylorus may benefit from balloon dilation.
Balloon Dilation in the Esophagus
Achalasia of the oesophagus may also be treated by balloon dilation.
The balloon is gently inserted into the stricture, accurate placement is critical here. Measuring the length of a stricture is done by observing the flow of contrast medium through it on an X-Ray picture. Once the stricture length is known a balloon which is able to cover the whole length is chosen. Radiopaque markers on the balloon dilator, or on the guidewire of those with a built-in guidewire, allow the visualisation of the instrument by X-ray, and help to guide its placement. Balloons are designed with flexible and tapered distal tips to ease their insertion into the stricture.
Once placed within the stricture, the balloon needs to be inflated to dilate the stricture.
Balloon Dilation in the Colon
It is important to inflate the balloon to a pressure level high enough to dilate the stricture effectively. Depending on the indication the balloon is inflated and deflated several times to ensure a satisfying and stable result. Once the stricture has been dilated, the balloon is deflated. It is then withdrawn from the stricture carefully so that it does not become stuck. Rapid deflation of the balloon allows the procedure to proceed efficiently.
Olympus supplies a range of 15 different balloon dilators for use in a variety of anatomical locations and treatment situations. The dilators are available as guidewire-compatible models or with built-in guidewires. They are constructed from tough polyethylene to avoid rupturing inside the stricture, and are designed to inflate and deflate rapidly for maximum efficiency.