Esophageal strictures

Esophageal strictures are narrowed areas of the esophagus that can be due to benign or malignant (cancerous) disease. The primary symptom of esophageal stricture is the sensation of food sticking in the chest after a person swallows. Most esophageal strictures are due to scarring from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but other causes can include scarring from prior radiation therapy, compression of the esophagus due to other diseases within the chest or cancer.

The diagnosis of esophageal stricture is made using x-rays often combined with the drinking of contrast material that allows for the narrowed area to be seen. Generally, upper endoscopy is performed to look at the lining of the esophagus and perform biopsies if necessary. Endoscopic ultrasound also allows for examination of the wall of the esophagus, to help determine the extent of the narrowing and assist in planning for possible surgery.

Most esophageal strictures are benign and can be treated with balloons which dilate the narrowed area. Occasionally, surgery is required to remove the stricture or treat any tumor that might be present.
Providence Gastrointestinal Center provides state-of-the-art gastroenterology services. Our board-certified gastroenterologists diagnose and treat disorders of the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system. Providence Gastrointestinal Center is part of a comprehensive program at Providence involving medical and surgical specialties.

The Advanced Endoscopy Center at Providence Gastrointestinal Center diagnoses and treats diseases of the digestive tract, using state-of-the-art technologies not widely available.